by Rob van der Gaast
Romania, one of the poorest countries in Europe, entered the Internet gambling space June 25 with the launch of Danube Casino, the nation’s first online casino.
The site is the creation of Nicolae Sfetcu, the maverick owner of Multimedia SRL and this year’s winner of the prestigious Business Initiative Directions, WQC International Star Award (Gold Category Paris 2003), who was predestined to become the owner of an Internet casino.
Sfetcu developed an affinity for poker and bridge around 20 years ago as a student and became a master at both games. I have never considered that poker, as well as bridge, are games, because in games you need luck,” he explained. “For bridge or poker, the luck plays a secondary role.”
He became one of the first presidents of a bridge club in Romania. After graduating from college, he specialized in Internet business services.
“Helped by my previous experience in Internet marketing, and being advantaged by the fact that I know very well the psychology of the gamblers, I had some successful marketing campaign for online casinos and affiliates which wanted to promote their own sponsored links through their Web sites or advertisements in my own network,” Sfetu said.
That network is the Teleactivities Network, which Sfetu says is one of the most complex Romanian integrated network of Internet resources for advertising and dissemination of information. It includes thousands of Web sites, forums, directories, mailing lists, newsletters, e-zines, Web rings and so on.
Within that network was the gambling portal Online-casino.ro, Sfetu’s first venture in the gambling space. A customer suggested that he try operating an online casino, and he went on from there to launch Danube Casino.
Sfetu says he’s operating legally in Romania because, as he puts it, “There are specific Romanian laws for gambling, however, none makes special references to online gambling. So, I could start without any problem.”
Danube Casino is operated through a partnership with Windows Casino, a licensed, insured site that’s certified by Safe Bet and approved by the Electronic Gaming Commission.
The new Romanian site offers over 125 different games based on European and American standards. Gamblers can win money as well as special prizes, such as a trip to Monte Carlo or a brand new Ferrari.
The site also features guides explaining game rules and offering strategy tips as well as 24/7 tech support through Multimedia SRL and Windows Casino
All transactions are in U.S. dollar. Payments can be made either by credit cards or through specialized services for the online processing of the money (NETeller, Firepay, Stormpay, Western Union, etc.).
About the Author
Rob van der Gaast has a background in sports journalism, sports marketing, the buying and selling of TV sports rights, and developing creative TV program ideas. After contriving a complete new sports betting concept that is, according him, “an absolute ‘Topscorer’ in the sports betting look-a-like industry, which is at the end of its life cycle,” he went back to his journalistic roots. Now he is a well known gambling research analyst, who contributes to LotteryInsider, Interactive Gaming News, Internet Gambling Report and the (European) Lottery Files.