The Romanian government’s “blacklist” of online casino companies continues to grow. In July the government published a list with 48 operators of online gaming. Last week it added Bet365 and bwin.party, bringing the number up to an even 50.
The latest companies to be added to the list had paid five years of alleged back taxes going back to a period before Romanian began regulating online providers and had been given provisional licenses by Romania’s gambling regulator, Oficiul National Pentru Jocuri de Noroc (ONJN). ONJN announced that the companies’ licenses were revoked on October 13. The regulator announced that both companies had continued to operate after the grace period ended on September 10 and before the official starting date of October 10.
The companies operate outside of the boundaries of Romania, which warned them not to accept Romanian players. “We warned the players that they have 30 days to withdraw all amounts held in accounts of the operator, after which all access to the site will be restricted,” said the government.
Some of the online providers have chosen to not play in the market rather than pay Romania’s “retroactive” taxes. Some consider this tax a form of shakedown. Many providers continue to operate in what the government labels a “black market.”
However, Bet365, bwin.party, PokerStars, 888 Holdings, Sportingbet, Betfair, and Unibet were among those who felt that the profits to be made outweighed the downside.
Romanian players who defy the ban are subject to a fine of 5,000 to 10,000 lei (a lei is equivalent to 25 cents).