Delasport: Romania is accelerating and evolving igaming market

With a population of nearly 20 million, one of the world’s fastest internet connections, and a rich history of gambling, Romania is one of the most attractive igaming markets out there. Delasport CEO Oren Cohen Shwartz shares his expert knowledge of the Romanian igaming market as it is today and how it has become an attractive prospect for the world’s leading operators and their partners.

Romania igaming market stats

The Romanian market size is estimated to be 900 million Euros GGY, having almost doubled over the last three years. There were 16.79 million internet users in Romania in January 2022 – a penetration rate of 88% of the entire population. Data from GSMA Intelligence shows that there were 27.41 million cellular mobile connections in Romania at the start of 2022, equivalent to 143.7% of the total population. Romania’s number of mobile connections increased by 1m (3.9%) between 2021 and 2022.

Igaming legislation in Romania

The National Gambling Office (ONJN) was founded on March 27, 2013 and was immediately allowed by the state to grant licences to internet operators. However, according to its initial licensing standards, an operator needed to have an offline presence in the nation to obtain an online licence. The licence requirements changed on December 29, 2014, when Emergency Ordinance No.92 was established, and international online gaming companies no longer needed to have an offline gambling licence to apply for a local licence.

The current legal framework was established in February 2016, where online gambling operators were eligible to obtain a licence in one of three classes, each of which has its own prerequisites.

Class 1 licence: The Romanian regulation permits the offering of any authorised product on the Romanian market, both in land-based and digital/online forms, provided that the necessary licences and authorizations are obtained by the operator intending to offer them. This licence is intended for B2C operators.

Class 2 licence: This is a type of licence introduced in gambling legislation and is mandatory for legal entities involved in the field of traditional and remote gambling, as well as for conformity assessment bodies.

Companies obliged to hold a class 2 licence are: 

  • Suppliers offering management and hosting facilities on the gaming platform; 
  • Economic operators carrying out the activities of production, distribution, repairs, and maintenance for gambling, import, export, intra-community acquisition, intra-community delivery, or other activities with gambling, for the purpose of marketing or use, in any form, in Romania; 
  • Payment processors;
  • Companies producing and/or distributing software specialised in the field of gambling; 
  • Marketing affiliates; 
  • Certifiers; 
  • Auditors; 
  • Conformity assessment bodies.

Class 3 licence: Granted to the National Romanian Lottery, which has a legal monopoly on the organisation of all types of lotteries.

Class 1 and Class 2 licences are readily available if the relevant B2C or B2B operators fulfil the licensing criteria. Only the Romanian National Lottery is awarded a Class 3 licence.

Gambling taxes in Romania

Tax on GGR is 16% but no less than €100,000 per year. A monthly tax of 2% of the total amount of monthly participation fees was introduced starting from January 1, 2019. This tax is paid from the bettor’s deposit. Winnings of more than 15,000 euros are subject to 1% tax.  

Gambling consumer protection in Romania

Aside from the taxes, the new legislation modifications aim to implement tighter procedures to prevent gambling addiction and minors participating in various gaming activities.

  • Every website must have a clock that allows the player to keep track of the length of their gambling session, as well as a statement regarding the user’s balance.
  • All information should be provided in Romanian, and each player who participates in gambling activities more than once per 12 hours should be warned through email of the possible hazards they face.
  • Every player can establish deposit restrictions on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, and must be able to select whether winnings that exceed a certain amount can be repaid in the same manner that the account was first funded.
  • Players can delete their account for a minimum of 24 hours, either temporarily or permanently. If the player wants to cancel their account permanently, they will be unable to create a new one for 6 months.

Popular casino games in Romania

Romania’s tendency is built on familiarity, as the country has a strong land-based history and culture of gambling. Emerging from retail-based casino halls and casino areas in sports betting shops, the market’s most successful online video slots are the ones that players are fans of in retail. EGT video slots dominate the market with almost 70% of the market share. 

Popular games include Shining Crown, 100/40 Super Hot, and others. Fruit theme is very favoured by the Romanian casino players and network-level progressive jackpot is catching the imagination of players to win the biggest of four levels of Jackpots. In Live Casino, Romanians like to play Blackjack and Roulette, and recently, wheel-mechanic game shows. 

Poker is one of the most popular card games in Romania, with some of the largest poker tournaments taking place there. Furthermore, Romanian players are connected to a worldwide player pool under Romanian gambling rules, unlike in many other nations where players can only compete against citizens of their own country.

Popular sports games in Romania

Romania also has a rich history of sports betting which has transcended to online platforms. Football betting is, by far, the most popular sport in Romania right now. Romanian football leagues like Liga I, Cupa Ligii, the Romanian Women’s Cup, and others are popular with Romanian bettors.

Another exciting sport to wager on is motorsport. Romania features many racing leagues, including the Romanian Endurance Series, Alex Cascatău Motorsport, and others.

Cycling is also popular in Romania with the likes of Ciclism Romania, Tour of Romania, and many more. As in other European countries, handball is ubiquitous with large events such as Liga Nationala. Then there is tennis, featuring a wide range of men’s and women’s Grand Slam tournaments, as well as ATP 500 series and ATP 250 series events. 

The International Esports Federation (IESF) has announced that the 15th World Esports Championships Finals will be held in Iași, Romania in 2023. The WE Championships will return to Romania after the country’s capital, Bucharest, hosted the tournament in 2013 with over 130 countries and 1200 players taking part.

Final thoughts

The legalisation of betting in Romania has been hailed as a significant step forward in a country once ruled by a communist dictatorship. It has enabled a far more open and free society, as well as an atmosphere that is forward-thinking towards new technologies and the riches that online gambling can bring to all involved. 

The rise of online gambling has created a large increase in employment opportunities in a country that is already seeing significant growth in its technology sector, attracting young and dynamic talent into the iGaming industry. This rapid growth and ongoing legislative clarification mean that Romania will continue to attract the best operators into the market and establish the country as a serious player on the world stage.

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