Romanian ban on gambling in small towns hits a snag

The ban would affect 90 per cent of localities in Romania.
The ban would affect 90 per cent of localities in Romania.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the land-based gambling restrictions require a constitutional review.

Romania.- Back in April, the Romanian parliament approved prime minister Marcel Ciolacu’s executive order banning gambling in small rural towns. Some 243 deputies voted in favour of the Legea Păcănelelor, with four abstentions, and the ban was due to apply ten days after the law’s enactment.

However, the Supreme Court of Cassation and Justice has now ruled that the restrictions must undergo a constitutional review by the Constitutional Court of Romania before they can be applied as federal law. It ruled that the gambling ban had violated Romania’s bicameral principle.

Ciolacu’s order would ban land-based slots in towns with fewer than 15,000 registered inhabitants, which would mean 90 per cent of all localities in Romania. It imposes penalties spanning from three months to one year of prison. The issuance of a false population size certificate by a town hall would be punishable by six months to three years of prison.

However it was noted that there were flaws in the definition of how to determine which towns would be covered by the ban and a lack of compensation for operators forced to relocate. A lack of clarity on enforcement measures has also been criticised, with municipal resources in small localities often limited.

Ciolacu appears to remain confident that the ban will eventually enter force. That would lead to the closure or relocation of some of the betting offices run by Romania’s 27 licensed operators, which include the likes of SuperBet, StanleyBet and Casa Pariurilor. 

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