Romania introduces new gambling restrictions

Sursa: Inquam Photos / George Călin

Romania’s Parliament has voted to impose restrictions on the gambling sector, marking a significant shift in the country’s regulatory landscape with rare political agreement on the issue.

The move includes a ban on rotary machines and the closure of gambling halls in villages and small towns, has brought praise and also sparked criticism.

The decision to enact the new measures secured unanimous approval from all political parties, an uncommon display of unity among the divided Romanian political parties.

The thrust of the new legislation is the banning of rotary machines, a popular form of gambling, together with the closure of gambling salons in places with a population of less than 15,000. That aims to curb the mushrooming of gambling venues in smaller communities.

Despite the cross-party support for the bill, opposition figures have raised concerns over  a clash between the government and the gambling industry.

The gambling has grown in recent decades, with an estimated 12,000 bingo halls, sports betting centers, and casinos across the country. However, there are also concerns about gambling addiction and social harm.

There are no reliable figures on how widespread  gambling addiction is in Romania. A 2016 report indicated that some 100,000 were under the grip of compulsive gambling.

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