Romanian parliament, Romania

Romanian gambling ad ban bill watered down by Senators

A parliamentary move to significantly clamp down on betting and gaming advertising in Romania has been heavily amended, according to local media.

Adrian Cozma, a legislator from the National Liberal Party (PLN), introduced the legislation to the Romanian Parliament that would ban all forms of advertising for betting and ‘games of chance’, i.e. casino and igaming products.

However, has reported that PNL Vice-President and President of the Senate, Alina Gorghiu, has ‘submitted a series of amendments that will seriously dilute his fellow party member’s bill.

Responding to the amendments, Cozma told the news agency: “I believe that the law is diluted and does not achieve its intended effect if these amendments remain in the Chamber of Deputies.

“I hope, however, that in the Chamber of Deputies the law will be voted in the form that I submitted. I still support the initial project, which was signed by more than 80 deputies.”

The amendments made by Gorghiu and his PNL colleague Daniel Fenechiu, should they be adopted as part of the bill by parliamentary deputies, significantly alter the initial proposals.

Notably, betting ads will be allowed to be shown during live sports broadcasts and at night on radio and TV, between 11pm and 6am.

Additionally, the changes will enable some forms of marketing to continue, including advertising in public spaces in areas smaller than 30 square metres. 

Gorghiu and Fenechiu stated that they wish to allow continuation of some forms of advertising in order to promote the activities of the regulated market, in doing so ensuring better player protection.

The Deputies explained: “The complete elimination of audiovisual commercial communication for gambling activities, including those carried out by companies licensed under Romanian law and supervised by the Romanian authorities, would have a significant negative impact on the efforts of the Romanian state to ensure the protection of Romanian players and to create a safe environment for carrying out these activities.” added that the bill could be voted on in next week’s Senate plenary, and if passed will be moved on to the Chamber of Deputies for a final decision.

Whether the bill and its amendments are accepted or not, the development demonstrates the continued presence of a political spotlight on betting and gaming in the country. 

Earlier this year, the National Audiovisual Council (CNA), Romania’s media monitoring agency, voted unanimously in favour of a ‘draft law’ to amend Romania’s existing advertising code.

CNA member Mircea Toma stated that the agency believes that “gambling addiction should be treated as a mental illness and public wellbeing concern”, echoing the public health concerns seen in countries such as the UK, currently in the midst of its own legislative overhaul of gambling regulation.

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