New law abolishes Bulgaria State Gambling Commission

July 30, 2020

Bulgaria Gambling

Gambling in Bulgaria has been in flux as new bills and laws have been introduced over the last year.

In the most recent turn of events, a bill that was first put forth on the 17th of June has been approved and essentially abolishes Bulgaria’s Gambling Commission.

Bill 054-01-51 had its second reading at the end of July and was approved by Bulgarian legislature. The bill was approved by the Committee on Budgets and Finance, the Committee on Culture and the Media, the Committee on Children, Youth and Sport, and the Committee on Budgets and Finance before the initial reading in June.

“The changes are aimed at clarifying the status of the gambling regulator and ensuring transparency in its work, which, in turn, will lead to optimisation and increase the quality of its activities.”

This statement was made by one of the bill’s sponsors, Alexander Ivanov, during a committee hearing.

No Regulator?

Initially, the bill called for the creation of a new regulator that would oversee all casino and betting activities in the country. The new regulator was to be called the State Gambling Agency. However, changes were made to the bill by members of the GERB which has seen a significant shift in this plan.

Instead of a new regulator, members of the GERB party voted for the National Revenue Agent to take over the role from the previous State Gambling Commission.

By handing over the running of all gambling activities to the taxman, the government has a firm grip on all revenues that are earned. Whether this is a good move or not, only time will tell.

New Capital Requirements

New requirements for attaining a license in the country were also announced. These changes were suggested by Valeri Simeonov and will see a significant boost in monetary requirements.

Slot licensees will require BGN1 million (€511,000) in fees, while casino licensees will need to provide BGN1.5 million. Online casino licenses will cost BGN3 million.

Unrest in Bulgaria

There have a number of new bills and laws on the cards for Bulgaria recently, including the possible closure of 75% of all gaming halls.

In the midst of these possible changes, there are protests, charges of tax fraud and bribery among “gambling moguls” and the threats of banning private lotteries.

While gambling may not be seen as vital during a global pandemic, the livelihoods of many Bulgarians hangs in the balance. These changes could affect those in the industry but what comes of all these possible changes remains to be seen.