Active players: 7.360.000
Currency: Leu (Euro is commonly used on online betting)
Regulated gambling products: sports betting (fixed odds, exchange), casino games, poker, keno, lottery, bingo
Operator types: betting shops, foreign online bookmakers, land based and online casinos, poker rooms
Designated authority: Romanian National Gambling Office (ONJN)
Status: Licensed online bookmakers, market not regulated according to the European Commission laws
Romania is located in Eastern Europe and despite high poverty rates among its population, is one of the most rapidly growing economies in the world. Betting has not always been a part of the local culture, as gambling was prohibited until 1990, when the previous regime was overthrown. Nowadays it is estimated that about 45% of the total adult population engage in betting at least once every week, either on land based shops or the various online bookmakers. Sports betting or pariuri sportive as it is more commonly known has been regulated during the last two years. The local authority (ONJN) has issued twenty two Class 1 licences, while many bookmakers located outside Romania, still accept local players.
5 things to know before you bet in Romania
- Players younger than 18 are prohibited from betting
- Hundreds of land-based betting shops operate all around Romania
- Winnings are taxed in three different tiers
- Euro is accepted on all Romanian betting sites
- Access to unlicensed operators might be blocked from your internet provider
Top 3 Romanian bookmakers
Online sports betting environment
Romanian Betting Sites
Although significant progress has been made concerning the regulation of online sports betting, during the past three years, these attempts have been met with strong criticism. The issues of back taxes imposed on profits earned from 2010 to 2015 and a physical presence in Romania (local domain) still remain and have deterred a few key betting sites, like Bet365 and William Hill from applying for a license. There are three types of gaming licenses, with different fees applying per license and gambling product. Sports betting sites in Romania (sport ro live) must pay a one-off €45.000 fee, plus 16% on gross gaming profits per year, capped at €90.000 minimum and be based in the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
International betting sites in Romania
Bet365 Romania used to have a significant player base until their exit in 2015. Although many players can still access Bet365 with a VPN it should be mentioned that Bet365 is not legal in Romania. According to the Stoke-based betting company a return to the Balkan country is not on the cards as the hostile betting environment means that any approach towards the ONJN would likely result in a new round of sanctions.
1xbet is the most popular international betting destination due to their high odds, HD live streaming and countless betting promotions. Additionally, the Romanian Leu is accepted on 1xbet Romania without a need of foreign exchange currency while many local payment options can be easily used.
Bwin Romania is one of the legally licensed bookmakers in Romania that has built a solid player base due to their high-quality football betting offering and loyalty towards their Romanian players. Bwin in Romania accepts the local currency, however, there have been a few instances where the odds of the Bwin ro site have been slightly different compared to their dot com site.
Netbet is the most popular foreign legal betting site in Romania with over 100,000 registered players. The Netbet pariuri sports is home to over 20+ different sports, a high quality casino and as you guessed it, accepts the Romanian Leu through various local banks and payment methods. A simple Netbet inregistrare will see you claim a unique 500 RON freebet that can be used on any sport you like.
Betfair is well known as the top betting exchange in the world, and luckily Romanian punters are allowed to sign up on them. Betfair Romania employs many local citizens, especially in Betfair Cluj, meaning that you can not play on their website but if you are a good enough punter you may also be able to make a career on them.
Winmasters Romania and 888 bet are the last two bookies on our International betting sites in Romania list, as despite holding a legal license, they have slightly smaller customer base. They are two of the best online casinos in Romania, however, so if you fancy like hitting the slots or taking a spin at the roulette wheel, you couldn’t ask for a better choice.
Although the government has tried to deter punters from betting on unlicensed bookmakers, by threatening to fine players, no such actions are set to be put into practice. Additionally, a recent proposal to tax player winnings surpassing 600 RON (€132) on 25% was not put forward, after it was vetoed by the European Commission. Betting options in Romania can include any of the betting shops located around the country and more than 120 online sports betting websites that accept local players.
Competition between sportsbooks
There are currently 16 licensed online bookies, meaning that competition isn’t exactly fierce between the various Romanian betting sites. Following the upheaval of the recent regulation attempts, the local online and offline betting market is dominated by two brands: Stanleybet and Betshop. These two operators entered the Romanian market around 2009 and have since created an informal betting monopoly (especially after ONJN’s attempts to force Bet365 out of the country). The latest bookies to successfully obtain a license in Romania are Unibet ro, Bwin Romania, 888 bet and Winmasters Romania.
Romanian payment methods
You can choose from a great number of different ways to make a top up or a withdrawal on your account on Romania betting sites, including local methods like Payza Romania as there are no restrictions placed by the ONJN. The predominant methods include bank cards and Paysafe cards, however e-wallets such as Neteller, Skrill and Russian Qiwi, are being used at an increasing rate.
Although the last two years certainly account for an improvement in Romania’s regulation of online betting, I maintain the impression that they still have a long way to go. Trying to put bookmakers to the heel, like the recent bullying of Bet365, is not only counterproductive, but also fails to set an example. It goes without saying that foreign operators don’t enjoy being pushed around, while the crafty Romanian punters have already found ways to bypass the government’s attempts to block unlicensed betting sites. Romania should focus on protecting the players’ interests and let competition improve the local market.