How do sites get blacklisted and what are the steps to follow to get legal

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Opened in July 2015, the Romanian gambling blacklist includes today more than 1,383 domains that are, or were at one time, used to provide unlicensed betting. Although some sites still slip through the ONJN net, the list is quite complete to help users avoid fines of up to 10,000 RON and the complications of a tax investigation, associated with placing bets on unlicensed platforms.

The black list appeared in 2015

The blacklist was born once the National Office for Gambling started its activity and the approval of the legislation that defines the framework for the development of this type of activity on the territory of Romania.

Until 2015, Romanian bettors could play on a variety of foreign platforms. With the legalization of online betting and the imposition of the operating license, with fees and taxes quite significant in value, the structure of online sports betting and gambling providers changed suddenly.

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The Blacklist

Since the approval of law no. 124/2015, gambling operators had one year to decide whether they want to remain on the Romanian market, under the new conditions, or not.

Until the beginning of the licensing processes, ONJN has laid the foundations of the black list, with all the profile sites that are not licensed to operate in Romania and on which it is illegal to place bets by Romanian citizens. All operators accessed until then from the territory of the country entered this list, and access to their web platforms was blocked.

A gambling site can be blacklisted by the authorities, and in Romania the control body is the National Gambling Office (ONJN), in two situations.

The first case is when an unauthorized portal operates in Romania. The verification authority receives information, then sends the decision to block it, internet providers having this legal obligation.

As a rule, after these sites are shut down, the owners disappear into the fog with the customers’ money. There are also serious operators, but few, who want to go legal. To get off the blacklist, ONJN does an audit, taxes the amount played illegally, then the operator can apply for a license.

The second case happens when someone plays on an unlicensed site from abroad, by mistake or on purpose. The site is “blacklisted” because it allowed that person to play. Later, it is blocked in Romania.

Foreign sites are not fined

In this case, also after an audit, the site is banned, at the proposal of the Supervisory Committee of ONJN, based on the documentation of the specialized departments. It is decided to be included on the blacklist, but without imputing fines, as in the first case. The site is credited with not being played with intent and gets the right to apply for the license.

In particular, for this case, ONJN admits that they enter various sites, licensed or not in Romania, to observe whether they are allowed to play and whether the licensed operators comply with the specific rules of the market (establishing the authenticity of the person who is playing, verifying its age, as well as verifying the card/account used, etc.).

The blacklist contains all unlicensed sites in Romania. The operators, the internet providers, take the list from the ONJN website and implement it, blocking them. Other states publish only the “white list”, that is, those who have licenses.

1393 web addresses on the blacklist at the beginning of 2023

At the beginning of 2023, the blacklist, created and periodically updated by ONJN, includes 1,393 unlicensed website addresses. All these addresses are blocked, according to the law, by Internet operators and cannot be accessed from Romania. The list can be consulted on the ONJN website.

What happens if you bet on unlicensed sites

Currently, the legislation provides for a fine of 5,000 to 10,000 RON for people who bet on sites without an ONJN license. In addition, if it is about important turnovers, the discovery of such an activity by ONJN can lead to the involvement of ANAF for the recovery of taxes owed to the Romanian state by the player, for the income earned and withdrawn to his bank accounts. No matter how good the direct winnings and the amounts obtained as betting bonuses might be, they might not be worth it, especially considering the large number of licensed sites on which bets can be placed.

The Whitelist

The white list is also published by ONJN and updated every time a new operator obtains a license or an additional license is granted for an already registered agency, but with a new web domain.

For each of the companies included in the list, specify the physical address declared as registered office, the license number, the period in which it is valid, and the category of services that the company can provide online: fixed-rate bets, counterparty bets, mutual bets, casino .

The difference between black and white

In addition to the fine that a user can receive for using a site without a license, he is also exposed to the risk of waking up without the money sent to his account on the site and/or without earnings. Illegal operators are not accountable to anyone for the way they manage their relationship with clients, so a player who uses their services relies, practically, only on their good faith.

It is true that on such a platform you no longer pay the vice tax of 2%, which only some of the licensed operators cover, and the tax is no longer taken for the money won and withdrawn, but overall, it is rarely worth it the risk.

The gray area or the sites that do not appear anywhere

Many online betting and gambling enthusiasts wonder what the status of sites and operators that do not appear either in the black list or in the white list, and if, and under what conditions, they can use their services for betting.

The legislation is very clear from this point of view: bets can be placed legally only on the web platforms included in the white list. A site that does not appear anywhere is just an illegal platform that has not yet been discovered by the ONJN and that will soon end up on the blacklist, if it does not obtain a license in the meantime.

Betting on such a site can therefore bring fines and legal and financial entanglements just as easily as blacklisted platforms.

How can Szilaghi Consulting help you start your online gambling business?

Choosing a gambling licensing jurisdiction is quite difficult, to begin with. Given the sheer number of factors that need to be considered by gambling operators, the choice can be overwhelming.

Szilaghi Consulting has been providing services to the online and offline gambling industry for over 18 years. We have helped our clients to make the right choices, to realize their visions, to overcome obstacles, and, above all, to succeed. We offer transparency and efficiency and we are committed to always acting only in your interest.

Our experience in obtaining online and offline gambling licenses differentiates us from the competition. We cover all your needs, from the incorporation of the gambling company, the creation of fiscal and compliance structures, to obtaining the gambling license.

We invite you to schedule a consultation with us. We like to communicate with our customers, troubleshoot their problems, and offer solutions. We invite you to contact us today to discuss this with one of our agents. Let us help you take your business to the next level.

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