Known around the world for its beautiful women, relics of the communist era, the majestic Carpathian mountains and the Danube Delta, Romania is a land filled with both chilling and charming fables. Everyone is familiar with the Transylvanian legend of Count Dracula, inspired by the country’s ruthless ruler Vlad Tepes, however, names like Gheorghe Hagi, Nadia Comaneci, Ilie Nastase are just as resounding in the world of sports. The present looks promising as well when talking about sports with the likes of Simona Halep, Razvan Marin playing for Ajax, or Radu Stefan at Lazio.
With so many shining examples of top athletes, it was natural for Romanian citizens to develop a passion for sports and sports betting, with plenty to choose from when it comes to betting sites in Romania. It is estimated that 15% of all adult citizens engage in sports betting activities, and thanks to the new regulations for gambling and betting, this sector has seen massive progress in the last years. Even though recent fiscal measures have led to slower growth, it looks like Romania continues to be an emerging market for all the big international bookies.
Gambling in all forms was banned during the ruling of Ceausescu and the communist party in România. The National Lottery was the only accepted gambling activity in the country without any trace of România bookmakers whatsoever. However, after 1990, when the communist regime was overthrown, gambling and betting in the region started to pick up steadily. The land-based betting shops began to appear in all the big cities, and a decade later the industry boomed with the introduction of online betting and betting websites in România. In the early years, there was no legislation to regulate gambling and betting market, so punters were free to choose where they wanted to play. Also, the notion of a România betting tax wasn’t introduced until 2013, so betting enjoyed extreme popularity with punters who were free to enjoy any of the international bookmakers with no restrictions.
Things started to change in January 2007 when Romania joined the EU, and just two years later, the first law on the organisation and operation of games of chance was issued. The Government Emergency Ordinance 77 from 2009 established the Ministry of Finance as the licensing body for all gambling activities in the country. Also, a licensing system is implemented with licenses valid for five years. So, for any betting website România-facing to operate legally in the country, they needed to apply and receive a license from the local regulator Oficiul Național pentru Jocuri de Noroc (ONJN).
Despite the progress registered with the Gambling Law of 2009, with remote gambling being allowed, it wasn’t until December 2014 when the authorities finally created the proper environment for foreign and local operators to apply and receive a license. Through the Government Emergency Ordinance, number 20 from 2013, the Romanian National Gambling Office (ONJN) was established as the central authority to issue online gambling licenses. It was only now that Romanian online betting sites were able to function 100% legal in the region. This opened the door for all the big international bookies to offer their services on the Romanian market legally.
NetBet was the first operator to receive a Class I license on the 1st of July 2016, and there are currently 22 licensed issued in total with names like Unibet, SportingBet, Fortuna, 888, Betfair, Betano or Betstars being active in the market.
A recent legislative change imposed a 2% tax on gambling turnover for operators, and there were talks about imposing another 5% tax for online operators, on top of the 16% that is already in place, applied to gross gambling revenue. The operators found a quick way around the 2% tax on gambling turnover by deducting it from punters’ deposits or via increased commissions. Besides the taxes operators face, winnings from betting are also taxed by the government in three stages:
Since the betting market in România is already pretty competitive, bookmakers need to make sure they have that certain something to stand out from the bunch. Romanian bookmakers offering plenty of pre-match and live betting options for football, tennis, basketball, or hockey will always rank high in punters’ preferences. Also, all licensed România betting sites need to offer an .ro domain, at the behest of ONJN and deliver website and customer support in Romanian. Of course, other features like bonus booster on accumulators or the cashout option are welcomed by Romanian punters, and every top betting site România should consider offering such functions.
Besides issuing licenses for operators that are willing to enter the Romanian market, the ONJN is also responsible for maintaining a blacklist of foreign operators attempting to deliver their services in the country. There are mandatory domain blocks operated by all IPSs, and the list is already 1,205 entries-long. In România betting companies that are not licensed are still being used by punters, though. By using VPN services, the ISPs blocks can be avoided so that punters can enjoy the full width of the România betting market. Furthermore, the legislation does not mention any action taken against punters enjoying unlicensed bookmakers.
Currently, there are no restrictions regarding payment options that can be used on Romanian betting sites. However, for a country with a lot of interest in technology and a lot of bright programmers, Romania isn’t that rich when it comes to payment options. Actually, there’s still a large part of the population that doesn’t have a card or a bank account and prefers cash transactions. That’s why many local operators still accept cash deposits in their betting shops. Out of the online payment methods, cards and ewallets [Skrill / Neteller] are most popular while Paysafecard is also often used.
Betfair, the world-leading betting exchange, is available in România since 2016, offering punters both their sportsbook (or site de pariuri sportive online as it’s called in Romanian) and betting exchange. Betfair is the first betting exchange to offer its services to the world, and it looks like Romanian punters are thrilled by the possibility to set their odds and create various bets as long as they backed by another punter. Betfair is the only licensed betting exchange in România; however, punters can access other sites like Betdaq or Smarkets through a VPN.
The National Gambling Office [ONJN] is the authority you need to contact for any complaint towards operators that are licensed in România. They have a contact form on their website and usually take 14 days to reply. However, if you play on unlicensed operators, the only way to file a complaint is by contacting the authority that issued their license – MGa, UKGC. Helpbet is always here for you in case you’re having any difficulty with bookmakers that we have reviewed. Drop us a message, and we’ll do everything in our power to assist yours.