Exclusive Interview: Dan Iliovici – President Of The Romanian National Office For Gambling (EEGReport Magazine – Issue 6 – June – September 2017)

Mr. Dan Iliovici has been appointed in March as President of the National Gambling Office ONJN – the Romanian gambling regulator, monitoring and controlling authority.

EEGReport Magazine: We know that you are well known in the gambling industry, however I would like to ask you to give a short briefing of your career to our readers.

Iliovici: After a 20-year career in management, I have ventured into the gambling industry. This happened 6 years ago, when I became Executive manager of an association of the gambling industry, and during the last three years I was vice president at ROMBET. During this period I was also member at the Consultative Council from the National Gambling Office (NGO), taking part in the process reshaping the Romanian gambling market along with the establishment of the new regulatory framework.

As representative of the gambling operators, I have also participated in numerous events. both locally and internationally and contributed to the most important Responsible Gambling programs.

This experience is the foundation from which I take my new role as president of NGO, for the benefit of an industry that I want to become more transparent, more respected and more responsible.

 

EEGReport Magazine: The Romanian gambling legislation is a great example for regulating a market and making it competitive. As we know, your contribution as vice president of Rombet was of high importance. What are the major projects that you would like to implement as the President of the Romanian National Gambling Office?

Iliovici: Together with all my colleagues from the National Gambling Office (NGO), we aim to build new stages of performance which will sustain the industry at the level it has reached and why not, even raise the bar higher. This way we assure the predictability on the long run for both sides of the industry: the operators and the players. We would like to make sure that the Romanian gambling industry can provide a safe business environment which is stable and transparent.

We have also set ourselves to reduce the bureaucracy, and one of the first steps will be the use of an efficient IT infrastructure and an information sharing. We would like to make the information much more accessible for the industry and for everyone involved (operators, players, the public and mainstream media). We must, and I strongly believe in this, become a example for an efficient and modern interaction with all stakeholders of our industry.

One of the most important projects is the establishment of the foundation for a socially responsible gaming. From the beginnings of my activity in the gambling industry I was extremely involved in assistance of the problem gamblers as well as on the prevention and education of the risks associated with gambling. This program will benefit from all the power and authority of the institution I represent.

 

EEGReport Magazine: Given the fact that you have been involved in the activities of the NOG (ONJN) before being appointed as President, has your perspective on the market changed since than? Do you know have a clearer vision when seeing all the inside data?

Iliovoci: When you are on the other side of the “barricade” – although I would not call it “barricade” – things are different. Representing the interests of the state and its citizens, ensuring a correct and transparent way of doing business, comes with a huge responsibility.

However, the basis principles remain the same, which we all want to respect. We have, in other words, common interests, both of us, the authority who is in charge to regulate, license and control the industry, as well as the commercial companies, the operators. And these principles are: law enforcement, a stable and predictable regulatory framework, fair competition and last but not least, social responsibility.

 

EEGReport Magazine: The European Commission addressed the Romanian Government to give a total in-dependency for the NOG and we know that Ms. Odeta Nestor has started making some steps towards making NOG independent. Will you continue making the steps necessary to implement this process?

Iliovoci: An important goal is to become an independent authority, which is subordinated to the Parliament, in accordance with the recommendations of the European Council toward the European Parliament.

I support this with all my strength, an objective which will offer us new and better perspectives for our entire activity.

 

EEGReport Magazine: Since you have been the host of a numerous fiscality related events in Romania, we clearly have to ask you a question in regards to the implementation of so called “taxation at the source”. Most of the operators and players were carefully examining the new Romania Fiscal Code to see if this was included. What is your opinion about such a taxation?

Iliovici: The NOG has supported tax withholding, because it is a “win-win” situation. The state earns revenues, the players are relieved of the extra paperwork, and operators win in terms of simplified bureaucracy.

However, the enforcement and the adoption of such tax related regulations belong to the Ministry of Finance, for which the NOG can only indicate its arguments upon request.

 

EEGReport Magazine: Looking further into the future of the Romanian Gambling Market, is there going to be more Responsible Gambling Acts implemented for the online operators? We know that you have always been a large supporter of such acts. 

Iliovici: I do not want to refer only at the online gambling industry. It’s about the industry as a whole, which is a special domain, with large economical and social influence, thus the Responsible Gambling programs are extremely important. My experience in this area makes me strongly believe that we can, and must have an important contribution for its future development. We have made great steps, because we already have these programs in our country, we have access to the best practices of other countries, however, as I’ve mentioned earlier, once the public interest foundation will be an established institution , we will develop projects and programs of the greatest impact across Romania. 

However, there is still a lot of work in order to change some miss-conceptions and on mentality, something you can’t easily change. But, we are working on that as well, the educational process, the one which involves the player and the operator, and such things are done in time.

I assure you that we will not lower the bar, not even for a single moment. Thank you!