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Q&A w/ Jean-Pierre Houareau, CEO at Live Solutions about the Romanian market

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Q&A w/ Jean-Pierre Houareau, CEO at Live Solutions about the Romanian market
Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

What is the state of play in the Romanian market?

In 2019, the Romanian gambling market generated a total revenue of €1.5 billion, representing an increase of 12.5% compared to the previous year. This growth was driven primarily by the online gambling sector, which accounted for nearly 25% of the total market share.

The Romanian gambling market is regulated by the National Gambling Office (ONJN), which oversees licensing and regulation of all forms of gambling in the country. In recent years, the ONJN has implemented stricter regulations for online gambling operators, including mandatory technical standards, responsible gambling measures, and increased taxation.

Despite these regulations, the Romanian gambling market continues to attract new players and operators. In 2020, several major international gambling companies received licenses to operate in Romania, including bet365, Betfair, and 888 Holdings. Additionally, the Romanian government has recently announced plans to further liberalize the gambling market, including plans to allow for the construction of large-scale casinos in certain areas.

It is worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the Romanian gambling market, as it has in many other countries. During the pandemic, many land-based casinos and betting shops were forced to close, leading to a surge in online gambling activity. It remains to be seen how the pandemic will continue to impact the Romanian gambling market in the long term.

 

How are your games helping operators to unlock the market’s full potential?

Here at Live Solutions we have created of its kind casino tables games with video chat which currently no other provider offers. In our opinion, operators can create differentiation for themselves by offering unique, innovative and engaging games to attract and retain players.

Our features are nothing if not unique and innovative and are available in 55 languages which can help to drive players towards new content.

The incorporation of this technology within the gaming space can offer a more immersive and interactive gambling experience. These new technologies can help to create a more engaging and enjoyable experience for players, which can lead to increased player loyalty and retention.

Overall, by offering a wide range of innovative and engaging games, operators can meet the needs and preferences of players, differentiate themselves from their competitors, and create a more sustainable and successful gambling market.

 

Why do you consider Romania to be such an important market?

Romania has a population of over 19 million people, making it one of the larger markets in Europe. This represents a significant potential customer base for gambling operators, both online and land-based.

The Romanian gambling market is relatively new and has been growing rapidly in recent years, which has attracted a lot of interest from international gambling companies. This growth is likely to continue as the Romanian economy continues to develop and the demand for gambling entertainment increases.

Romania has a relatively low tax rate on gambling activities, which makes it an attractive destination for operators looking to minimize their tax liabilities. This has helped to attract new operators to the market, which in turn has increased competition and driven further growth.

As a member of the European Union (EU) Romania benefits from EU regulations and protections. This provides a stable regulatory environment for operators and helps to ensure the safety and security of customers.

 

Do player preferences differ from other markets? What does localisation look like in Romania?

Player preferences in the Romanian gambling market may differ from other markets due to cultural and demographic differences. However, there are also many similarities between the Romanian market and other European markets in terms of player preferences.

In terms of localisation, many international gambling operators have adapted their products and services to meet the needs and preferences of Romanian players. This may involve translating their websites and games into Romanian, offering local payment methods, and providing customer support in Romanian. Some operators may also offer localized promotions and bonuses that are tailored specifically to the Romanian market.

Additionally, the ONJN has implemented strict regulations for online gambling operators that require them to offer games that are appropriate for Romanian players. This may include games that are popular in Romania, such as traditional card games like Baccarat or Rummy, as well as popular slot games.

While there may be some differences in player preferences in the Romanian market, many international gambling operators have adapted their products and services to meet the needs of local players, and the ONJN has implemented regulations to ensure that operators are offering appropriate games for the market. This localisation helps to ensure that the Romanian gambling market remains attractive and accessible to both local and international operators.

 

What is the competitive landscape like? Is there room for operators to enter and claim solid market share?

While there are some established operators in the market, there is still a significant amount of competition and opportunities for new entrants.

In the online gambling sector, there are a number of international operators that have entered the market, including major players such as Bet365, 888 Holdings, and PokerStars. Additionally, there are also several local operators that have been successful in the market, including Superbet, Fortuna, and Netbet.

In the land-based sector, there are a number of casinos and slot parlours operating in Romania, including the famous Casino Bucharest and Palace Casino.

The ONJN has implemented strict regulations for online gambling operators, including technical standards, responsible gambling measures, and increased taxation, which may present some challenges for new operators entering the market. However, these regulations also help to ensure the safety and security of customers and provide a level playing field for all operators.

Overall, the Romanian gambling market offers opportunities for new operators to enter and claim solid market share, particularly in the online gambling sector, which has seen significant growth in recent years. However, competition is strong and new entrants will need to offer attractive products and services to compete with established operators.

 

What are some of the challenges being faced?  How can they be overcome?

There are several challenges facing the Romanian gambling market, including:

Increasing taxes: The Romanian government has increased taxes on gambling activities, which has put pressure on operators’ margins and profitability.

Stringent regulations: The ONJN has implemented strict regulations for online gambling operators, which may make it more difficult for new operators to enter the market and compete with established operators.

Competition: The Romanian gambling market is becoming increasingly competitive, with many established operators and new entrants vying for market share.

Problem gambling: As with any gambling market, there is a risk of problem gambling, which can have negative social and economic consequences.

To overcome these challenges, operators and regulators can take several steps, including:

Collaboration and advocacy: Operators can work together and with industry associations to advocate for more favourable tax and regulatory policies.

Innovation: Operators can differentiate themselves by offering innovative products and services that meet the changing needs and preferences of players.

Customer protection: Operators can invest in responsible gambling measures, such as self-exclusion tools, to help protect vulnerable players.

Localisation: Operators can adapt their products and services to meet the needs and preferences of local players, which can help to build brand loyalty and increase market share.

Education: Operators and regulators can work together to educate players about the risks associated with gambling and promote responsible gambling behaviours.

Overall, by working together, operators and regulators can help to create a sustainable and successful gambling market in Romania that balances the needs of operators, players, and society as a whole.

 

Compliance Updates

Romania Bans Gambling Venues in Small Towns and Villages

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Romania has announced a ban on gambling venues in small towns and villages with populations of less than 15,000 residents.

What’s known as the “law of slot machines” was passed by deputies in the lower house of parliament. “It is the first law adopted in Parliament in 30 years against this mafia that has controlled the political world until now,” said Alfred Simonis, the leader of the Social Democrats.

“Right now we are fighting an industry that has a total turnover of €10-12 billion.”

Industry figures complain they were not consulted, and hope that the authorities will control the black market as they promised.

Despite the unanimous vote, there was some dissent within the chamber. Two opposition parties that want to ban the “scourge” of gambling outright accuse the government of collusion with the gaming sector for not taking a stronger position.

On another front Ionut Mosteanu, the leader of the opposition USR, questioned how lawmakers had set the threshold.

“They thought that slot machines only damage 15,000 people,” he said. “There was not even a debate to see how many townships qualify for this 15,000. Why not 16, 17, why not two million and you would ban them definitively?”

Gambling venues have become ubiquitous across Romania over the last few decades. The National Gaming Office, the state body that monitors and approves the sector, has registered 12,000 sports betting, bingo, casino, lottery rooms.

The state collects taxes from gambling venue licenses and online ticket sales as from the amount betting houses spend on advertising.

There are no recent data to indicate how many people in Romania are addicted to gambling. The last survey was conducted in 2016, and found that there could be around 100,000 addicted people across the country. The number today could be much higher.

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Conferences in Europe

Altenar becomes General Sponsor of EEGS 2024

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Altenar becomes General Sponsor of EEGS 2024
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The acclaimed Eastern European Gaming Summit (EEGS) gladly welcomes Altenar, a leading sports betting software provider, as a General Sponsor for this year’s edition of the event. The conference will be held on 27th and 28th of November at the IEC, Sofia, Bulgaria. For another consecutive year Altenar joins the event as a major sponsor with total commitment for fostering innovation and growth in the gaming and entertainment industry, as a whole. This enduring long standing partnership has brought significant mutual benefits and opportunities for both parties and all event participants over the years.

Altenar is delivering best-in-class solutions for licensed operators around the world. Ranging from a standalone sportsbook product to the provision of a turnkey sportsbook solution, Altenar offers proven stability coupled with a flexible and personalised service.

Launched in 2011, Altenar powers hundreds of online sports betting sites, while their self-service betting terminals and mobile app help ensure they meet all operator needs, with an exponentially growing client base in more than 30 countries.

Altenar COO Dinos Stranomitis said: “In Altenar we consider EEGS and BEGE as a key event to establish connection with East and Southeast Europe. Considering that Bulgaria is playing a key role in that region, our presence is a must. See you in Sofia.”

Altenar is an invaluable partner, thus contributing to the success and vibrancy of EEGS itself. The continued support highlights a shared commitment to excellence and progress within the industry, making this year’s event an essential platform for associated industry luminaries and entrepreneurs to explore the latest trends and opportunities in gaming, entertainment and hospitality in general.

The Eastern European Gaming Summit (EEGS), the premier conference of the region, provides a dynamic platform for industry leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs to connect, collaborate, and explore the latest trends and opportunities shaping the gaming and entertainment landscape.

No doubt you wish to position your company alongside the Conference and exploit our expertise.

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Compliance Updates

Booming Games secures Romanian B2B license

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Booming Games secures Romanian B2B license
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Booming Games, a fast-growing provider of iGaming content, has proudly obtained an Oficiul National Pentru Jocuri De Noroc (ONJN) license, a significant milestone that allows the company to extend its reach across Europe.

Booming Games recently received official confirmation of its B2B gaming license from the Romanian gambling authority (ONJN). With this license in hand, the company is now empowered to supply its content to licensed gambling operators throughout Romania. As a result, Romanian players can look forward to accessing beloved titles like Burning Classics, TNT Bonanza, Cash Pig, Buffalo Hold and Win, and Gold Gold Gold.

Booming Games’ acquisition of the ONJN license represents a strategic move towards expanding its European footprint. This milestone not only solidifies the company’s position as a leading provider of iGaming content but also opens doors to new opportunities in the broader European market. With the Romanian B2B gaming license complementing its existing licenses, Booming Games is well-positioned to continue delivering exceptional gaming experiences to players across Europe.

Frederik Niehusen, Chief Commercial Officer at Booming Games, said: “We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve obtained a full Romanian B2B gaming license. This exciting development allows us to expand our presence in the rapidly growing Romanian market. With this achievement, we’re well-equipped to build on our strengths and enhance our product offerings to better serve the needs of our customers.

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