The state will establish a monopoly on all types of gambling, apart from casinos, for which, the requirements for performing this kind of activity toughen, according to a bill passed on Friday, December 16th, at the final reading of the Parliament.

According to the document, the gambling management, which is a state monopoly, will be performed through the National Lottery of Moldova.

It will also be adjusted the tax system on all winnings from gambling, and the advertising of the industry will be banned. Similarly, the age limit for people who can participate in gambling is 21.

According to the law, to obtain the right to conduct gambling institutions, except those that are in the state monopoly, the companies will have to meet several requirements: a capital of at least five million lei (of which 70% in cash) on the license issuing date, managers and accountants with no criminal record, working experience of at least 5 years etc.

The document stipulates gambling location. They may not be conducted: in central government institutions and any education institutions of all levels, medical institutions, religious institutions, cultural and residential buildings, at public transport stops, bus stations, underground crossings, on the  territory of  markets, in temporary constructions (booth), and in the radius of 200 meters from the health and education institutions of all levels.

Thus, the casino can be placed only in separate buildings with entrances separate, specially organized for direct access from the street, separately for guests and separate for staff, or in hotels with a grade classification not lower than4 stars, in compliance with this law.

With regard to performing the gambling activity, he new law states that in the game room can be installed a minimum of 20 slot machines with cash winnings for municipalities; and 10 slot machines with cash winnings, for settlements outside municipalities.

However, the casino must have a game room specially arranged where will be installed a minimum of six tables for municipalities, one of which must be roulette,  and four tables and one roulette for settlements outside municipalities.

A cash point must operate in the casino, performing operations that occur in relations between casino and clients, as well as an exchange point.

Also, the activity in the gambling rooms, cash point currency exchange and reception must be monitored, obligatory, by closed circuit television and recorded video over the entire program of work in real time. Video recordings of the casino tables and the cash points must be kept in digital form, and safe at least 10 calendar days, to be submitted when requested for verification by legal authorities.

The Licensing Chamber suspended the licenses of 65 economic activities with gambling, bet, casino and gaming machines, in October of this year. Their licenses were suspended due to multiple violations that were found during the checks performed by the Financial Inspection under the subordination of the Ministry of Finance and during the investigations of the anti-corruption officers and prosecutors.

Coincidentally or not, but most business activities involving gambling halls were stopped after Plahotniuc proposed to drastically change the regulation of performing casinos activities and protecting minors from this phenomenon.

The request was made in late July on his official blog, which was immediately publicized widely on the television stations managed by the deputy president of the Democrat Party, namely Prime, Publika TV, Canal 2, Canal 3. A week after the publication of the message, a series of searches were carried out at several casinos from the capital city, which resulting in closing down most of them and detaining the commercial agents, who avoided paying taxes. Subsequently, two weeks later, 7 more gambling halls were closed down as a result of searches carried out by police and prosecutors, and the manager of the institution was suspected of tax evasion.

According to an investigation by CrimeMoldova, following the operation conducted in late October, 59 entrepreneurs lost their economic activity - owners of four casinos and 155 gambling halls. Among them, there are some investors in Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Russia and Ukraine. While some of them owned a room with gaming machines, others formed empires, managing more companies via intermediaries and using money laundering schemes through offshores.

According to the Register of the Chamber of Licensing, 65 licensees, 72 holders of licenses for the operation of slot machines, 4 holders of licenses for running casinos, 13 - for establishing stakes in sports competitions  and a license holder for organizing and conducting lotteries, were activating in Moldova.

Only in the first half of this year, nearly 52 million lei were paid to the state budget for the licensing of gambling activity, which is five million more compared to the same period of last year. The increase was due to the increase in the number of license holders to work in this area.

It is interesting the fact that, the validity of all licenses issued for that activity is more than a year, and for some holders expire within three months.

You can find out more information on casino owners from the investigation conducted by CrimeMoldova.

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