Why has Romania suspended two online gambling licenses?

News on 29 Sep 2018

The announcement by Romanian regulator Oficiul National Pentru Jocuri de Noroc (ONJN) this week that it has suspended the licensing of online gambling operators Sea-Bet Ltd and fixed odds betting firm Bet Club System SRL – both members of the same corporate group – has triggered speculation in the absence of official explanation.

Malta-based Sea-Bet operates the Romanian website Publicwin.ro and runs a number of retail betting outlets in the eastern European country under the same brand after achieving its online licence status in August last year.

The company has been directed to cease accepting new player sign-ups or accept fresh wagering from current punters, although it may meet player withdrawal obligations.

The suspension does not appear to have impacted the company’s retail outlets, where permission for the slots to continue operating has been given by ONJN.

Sea-Bet has advised interested parties that the suspension is for 30 days, along with a rather provocative comment accusing the regulator of “deeply unlawful” conduct, and predicting that the judicial system will “find, as with the sanctions imposed on other market operators, [Publicwin] complies with legal provisions.”

That suggests that the company is to challenge the suspension, at which point more information may emerge.

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