Hills’ Romania withdrawal suggests licence application

Hills’ Romania withdrawal suggests licence application

Thursday, June 4, 2015
Romania is opening up its gambling industry to overseas operators

William Hill looks set to apply for a new licence in Romania after suggesting to TotallyGaming.com that its withdrawal from the country is only temporary.

The gambling operator has told customers and affiliates that it will cease operations in Romania, but a spokesman said that while “regulatory developments” have caused it to withdraw, it will reconsider should there be any change.

Last month, Romania’s Parliament passed legislation that would introduce a new licensing and tax regime on online and land-based gambling once Presidential assent has been given.

The bill says that companies that have been operating in the country must wait for 12 months before they can be awarded a licensee, and must also pay 20 per cent retrospective tax on the gross gaming revenue generated by Romania's nationals. 

“Following recent regulatory developments in Romania, we have taken the decision to cease to accept business from customers in that jurisdiction,” the spokesman told TotallyGaming.com. “We advise any William Hill affected customers to contact our customer services department.

“We regularly review our operating position within the countries that we conduct business and if the conditions were right for a return to Romania then we would further consider our options.”

The GEO 92/2014 bill was drafted to make Romania more attractive to international gambling operators and comply with European Union law, with the government hoping it can raise €100m ($113.4m) per year in tax revenues.

The new regime requires licensees to be based in the European Economic Area (EEA) and have a mirror of their servers in Romania, with previous legislation demanding that operators be based in the country.

The bill also introduces a three-tier tax system, with a one per cent tax applied to all operators who produce revenues between €133 and €15,000, 16 per cent tax on €15,000-100,000 and a 25 per cent tax on revenues over €100,000. Romania's authorities believe that the new regulation could lead the State to earn extra revenues of at least €100 million a year.

In a note to affiliates and customers, William Hill said: “We would like to inform you that following recent regulatory developments in Romania, with effect from June 2, 2015, William Hill will cease to accept business from customers in Romania.

“This means that none of William Hill’s products will be available in Romania, though players will be able to withdraw from their existing account balances.

“Furthermore, affiliates are required to remove all marketing materials from their websites (including banners, text links, etc.) that relate to Romanian bettors.

“The William Hill staff would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your efforts and joint work together over the past years in the Romanian market.

“They value your cooperation and contribution and, though William Hill is obliged to cease to accept business from customers in Romania for the time being, they are confident that we will have the opportunity to work together in the future.”

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