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Gambling, banned in small localities

The Romanian Parliament has decided to eliminate gambling halls from localities with less than 15,000 inhabitants

Gambling Photo credit: pixabay
Gambling Photo credit: pixabay

and , 10.04.2024, 13:59

Gambling will be banned in Romanian localities with less than 15,000 inhabitants, after the Chamber of Deputies, as the decision-making body, passed a bill on this matter on Tuesday. The measure, initiated by the Social Democratic Party, part of the ruling coalition in Bucharest, provides, among other things, for the establishment of a public register with the licensed operators, higher taxes for the organizers of this type of activity, but also fines of more than 40,000 euros for violating this restriction, confiscation of the amounts derived from illegal activities and even suspending the license of the companies in question.

 

Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said that, although the bill is more lenient than the initial draft, once it takes effect it will prevent 90% of Romanian localities from having gambling halls on their territory. Following Tuesday’s vote, the PM said in a post on the social media that the good old days of greedy people who sold illusions are over and that the government will continue to take action until things are under control.

 

In his turn, the interim president of the Chamber of Deputies, the Social Democrat Alfred Simonis, said that this approach is only a first step towards limiting access to gambling. Alfred Simonis: “In Romanian villages there is no other form of entertainment, there are no malls, no swimming pools, but only these slot machines which are the only source of fun for these children. That’s where we have to start. After we give this blow and we see how the industry reacts, we will be able to make the law that completely removes these gambling halls from the cities.”

 

The opposition parties, however, disapprove of the government representatives’ approach and accuse them of promoting their own project, for electoral purposes, given that the opposition’s initiatives on this matter have not been accepted for debate. MPs with USR and AUR also believe that the parties in power are blocking, in Parliament, the documents that also eliminate gambling from the big cities and ban advertising for gambling halls, because this industry sponsors their election campaigns. The leader of the USR group in Parliament, Ionuţ Moşteanu: “The hypocrisy of the PSD is admirable, given that, for a year, they have been keeping some projects blocked in the drawer. They will pass a project, wait to see how the gambling industry reacts and then decide if we go ahead. This means having gambling hall owners in control and not caring about the Romanians.”

 

In 2022, Romanians spent nearly 2.4 billion euros on bets in casinos, gambling halls and online, some 15% more than in 2021. At the same time, the revenues of the operators in the gambling industry have increased by 40% in the last 5 years. (EE)

Marcel Ciolacu (Photo: gov.ro)
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