Romania’s national lottery is bracing for a potential scandal that could ensnare a local subsidiary of Greek gaming technology firm Intralot.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Romanian prosecutors had launched an investigation of Loteria Romana CNLR and Intralot subsidiary Lotrom SA. The investigation is focusing on the use of 6,264 slot machines prosecutors believe were operating without license or authorization between 2006 and 2014.
Prosecutors have suggested the illegal slots could have deprived the state of 463.4m lei (US $111m) in tax revenue during that time span, although they cautioned that the sum was a “preliminary” number. Prosecutors have yet to publicly reveal the names of any individuals deemed to be persons of interest in the investigation.
Prosecutors claimed to have frozen the bank accounts of the two companies under investigation. Neither company has made a public statement on the investigation but Loteria Romania told Reuters its financial accounts hadn’t been blocked.
Meanwhile, Romania’s new online gambling legislation continues to inch closer to implementation. The European Commission had expressed “serious concerns” about the fairness of Romania’s previous gambling regime, resulting in the government’s approval this past December of an emergency ordinance. In addition to amending tax rates and licensing fees, the GEO 92/2014 ordinance also eliminated the requirement that European Union-licensed operators base their primary servers on Romanian soil.
The GEO 92/2014 ordinance took effect in mid-February but is still awaiting official approval from the country’s two legislative bodies and the European Commission. Romania’s Senate has already approved the ordinance, while the Chamber of Deputies is still debating the finer points. On April 9, Romania officially notified the EC of the implementation of its new regime. The EC’s standstill period on the legislation will expire on July 10.