The Moldovan government has established a monopoly on all types of gambling, with the exception of casinos – which will face tougher regulatory requirements following a new bill passed this December.
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Moldovan government has enacted new legislation setting out the criteria for those hoping to operate a casino in the small eastern European nation.
Passed by the country’s parliament on 16 December, the legislation gives the state a monopoly on all forms of gambling except casinos.
It requires prospective licensees and employees to have a clean criminal record along with a minimum of five years’ experience and stipulates that they must hold capital of at least MDL5m (€237,000) with a minimum of 70 percent of this in cash. Moreover, the legislation has placed all regulatory duties under the auspices of the Moldova National Lottery, banned advertising, set the age limit for gamblers at 21 and instituted a new system of taxation on prizes.
The legislation additionally decrees that no casino can be attached to government, residential or cultural buildings and must be situated at least 656ft from schools and medical facilities. Gambling outlets must not be adjacent to churches, public transport stops, bus stations, underground crossings or public markets and should be in a permanent stand-alone structure with direct street access. Hotels will be required to have at least four stars to host a casino and such venues must offer a seperate entrance for gamblers.
In terms of games, the new measures stipulate that casinos in rural areas must have a minimum of ten real-money slots alongside four gaming tables with at least one of these dedicated to roulette, while urban facilities need at least 20 slots as well as six gaming tables along with the same roulette requirement. Every Moldovan casino must now feature at least one cash point along with a digital video surveillance system that stores images for a minimum of ten days.
Moldova, bordered by Ukraine and Romania, was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union until gaining its independence in 1991 and is currently home to around 2.9 million people. According to data from the Association of Employers in the Entertainment Business Sector, Moldovans spend MDL350m (€16.6m) on gambling a year.
This November, four casinos – including the country’s largest Napoleon Palace – along with 160 gambling establishments had their licences withdrawn following police raids.
The move came as part of a crackdown over licensing irregularities which led to the arrest of five Licensing Chamber employees, including the deputy director. In 2016 gambling licensing generated nearly MDL52m (€2.5m) for the state’s coffers, up by MDL5m on the same period of last year.