In 1997, Romania had 57 casinos among which 17 were in Bucharest. Reporting to the number of inhabitants, Bucharest was classified, at that time, the third city of gambling opportunities, in Europe.
Between 1990 and 1997, Romania was “the fiscal paradise“ for the casino owners, their companies being assimilated as “foreign investment”, the absence of a strong gambling legislation allowing the introduction and drawing out of the country huge amounts of cash, without any custom declaration.
The five times increment of the taxes for gambling companies at the beginning of 1998 and the Gambling Legislation issued in 1999 regarding the conditions of authorization, organization and gaming operation drove the gambling market to a drastically reduction.
At this moment, in Romania are running 21 casinos, among which 10 in Bucharest. Almost two thirds of them are belonging to businessman from Israel and Turkey.
There are rumours that the Finance Minister is working now on a new legislation which will reduce the number of casinos in Bucharest to 5.
The current project stipulates that the gaming licences shall be granted as a result of an auction with rules and regulations established by the Finance Dept.
On the other hand, there are almost 900 slots rooms all over the country, with more than 27.000 slot machines and thousands of sports betting locations.
We shall see in what way this new gaming law – if approved – will affect the Romanian gambling industry.