Codrin Scutaru


In the heart of Eastern Europe, Romania’s gambling industry emerges as a beacon of economic vitality, navigating through waves of legislative reforms with agility and foresight. The year 2023 marked a pivotal moment, as the government proposed new regulations, posing both hurdles and opportunities for growth. This exploration delves deep into the essence of Romania’s gambling sector, unraveling its economic contributions, technological advancements, challenges of the underground market, and legislative comparisons with European counterparts. A narrative unfolds, revealing an industry at the cusp of transformation, thriving on innovation and responsible governance.

by Codrin Scutaru – CEO Public Affairs Solutions

Economic Contributions: A Pillar of Prosperity

The gambling industry in Romania is not just a game of chance but a significant economic engine. With revenues hitting the €1.5 billion mark in 2022, as reported by the National Office for Gambling (ONJN), the sector stands as a testament to its immense potential. This financial prowess translates into over €300 million funneled directly into state coffers, earmarked for public welfare, infrastructure, and education. Such contributions underscore the sector’s role beyond entertainment, serving as a cornerstone of economic stability and growth.

However, the industry’s success story is shadowed by the specter of the unregulated market. Estimates suggest that illegal gambling accounts for about 20% of the total market, a concerning figure that highlights the continuous battle between regulation and the shadow economy. The tug-of-war not only threatens legal operations but also jeopardizes consumer protection and state revenue.

Technological Safeguards: The Vanguard of Integrity

In response to evolving challenges, Romania’s gambling industry has turned to technology as its shield and spear. The adoption of cutting-edge innovations ensures a fair, transparent, and secure gaming environment, pivotal for sustaining consumer trust and regulatory compliance. Identity verification systems, secured payment gateways, and self-exclusion mechanisms are now industry staples, reflecting a commitment to responsible gambling.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies have taken center stage, enhancing the ability to detect early signs of problematic gambling behavior. These tools offer a proactive approach to consumer protection, enabling operators to offer timely interventions. Furthermore, the integration of blockchain technology promises a new horizon of transparency and security, mitigating risks of fraud and ensuring the integrity of gaming outcomes.

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The Shadow Market Challenge and International Benchmarks

The rise of the illegal gambling market in Romania is a multifaceted issue, exacerbated by stringent regulations and high tax burdens on licensed operators. This burgeoning shadow market not only diverts revenue from the state but also exposes consumers to risks without safeguards. The situation calls for a delicate balance in regulatory frameworks, where consumer protection, operator viability, and state interests converge harmoniously.

Looking towards models of success, the United Kingdom stands out with its Gambling Commission’s approach to regulation. The UK framework emphasizes consumer protection, promoting responsible gambling while ensuring the industry’s economic viability. By fostering a regulatory environment that mitigates the allure of the black market, the UK has managed to nurture a thriving legal gambling sector, rich in innovation and growth. This comparative analysis suggests a path forward for Romania, advocating for regulations that protect without stifling, and tax policies that encourage legal operations over underground alternatives.

Towards a Sustainable Future: Innovation, Regulation, and Social Responsibility

As Romania’s gambling industry stands at the crossroads of innovation and regulation, the future beckons with promise and challenges. The adoption of technological advancements positions the sector for sustainable growth, appealing to a new generation of consumers while safeguarding the principles of responsible gambling. The industry’s proactive stance on consumer protection, through education and intervention programs, exemplifies a commitment to social responsibility.

The legislative landscape in Romania, poised for reform, holds the key to unlocking the industry’s full potential. By drawing inspiration from successful European models, Romania can craft a regulatory framework that bolsters economic growth, curtails the shadow market, and upholds the highest standards of consumer protection.

Codrin Scutaru


Romania’s gambling industry is more than a game of luck; it’s a narrative of resilience, innovation, and strategic foresight. As it navigates through legislative reforms and technological transformations, the sector remains a vital contributor to the national economy, a protector of consumer interests, and a pioneer in responsible entertainment. By embracing a balanced approach to regulation, investing in technology, and prioritizing social responsibility, the industry can chart a course towards sustained prosperity and integrity. The journey ahead is fraught with challenges, but with the right mix of policy, innovation, and commitment, Romania’s gambling industry can emerge as a model of success in the European landscape.