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12/04/24 - Romania Has Banned Slot Parlours in Small Towns

Romania has taken a significant step in combating illegal gambling operators by implementing a ban on gambling facilities in less-populated areas. This decision, approved by the Prime Minister and passed by the Romanian Chamber of Deputies, prohibits land-based gambling operations in small cities and villages with fewer than 15,000 residents.



The law to ban slot machines in rural, less populated urban areas throughout Romania was overwhelmingly supported by the lower instance of the House, with 243 proponents, two opposed, and four abstentions. The Prime Minister seized the opportunity to highlight the coalition government's success in addressing the proliferation of illegal gambling facilities in remote and sparsely populated regions.



This ban is expected to impact nearly 90% of gambling locations in Romania, including the operations of 27 licensed bookmaking operators. While industry stakeholders express concerns about the lack of consultation, they remain hopeful that competent authorities will effectively regulate the black market.



Since the overthrow of a dictator regime in 1989, gambling venues have flourished in Romania alongside the introduction of democracy and a liberal economy. The National Gaming Office reports that the Romanian market currently boasts 12,000 registered sports betting, bingo, casino, and lottery land-based facilities. Tax revenues generated from licensing and advertising fees contribute significantly to the state's income.



Despite the financial benefits, there is a lack of recent data on the prevalence of gambling addiction in Romania. A 2016 survey estimated that approximately 100,000 Romanians were struggling with gambling addiction at that time. Additionally, a recent study conducted by the charity organization Save the Children revealed that over 14% of Romanian children engage in gambling activities, with 10% having a parent who also participates in gambling.



In conclusion, Romania's decision to ban gambling facilities in less-populated areas reflects a commitment to addressing illegal gambling operations and protecting vulnerable populations from the potential harms associated with excessive gambling.


The Romanian Gaming Commission


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