Online Gambling Banned in Bulgaria

June 14, 2013

Back in 2012, the Gambling Commission of Bulgaria made some amendments to the country’s Gambling Act. Part of these amendments was to introduce the requirement for online gambling companies to acquire a local Bulgarian gambling license to continue operating within its borders. Although these amendments to the Gambling Act were put in place in 2012, the new policy has not been enforced, until now that is.

The Bulgarian Gambling Commission has just released a statement saying that all online casino operators who want to offer online gambling services to Bulgarian citizens will need to apply for, and be granted, an online gambling license. The gambling commission also singled out a list of international online casino operators who are operating online gambling sites that are illegal, as they do not currently have a local online gambling license. There are some major names on this list, some massive international online gambling companies including Betfair, 888, Ladbrokes and Bet365. This is obviously big news for each of these online casino operators, and the Bulgarian members of these sites.

Strangely enough, only three local Bulgarian online gambling companies have so far been issued with a gambling licenses, and these are Eurofootball, Eurobet and the state operated Bulgarian Sport Totalisator. We would have expected more local companies to be given online gambling licenses by this stage.

There is an appeal process in place for online casino sites that have been highlighted as being in breach of Bulgarian gambling law, to use to try and obtain clearance to operate and a local gambling license.

The Bulgarian Gambling Commission made these changes to the Gambling Act in 2012 in an effort to begin producing tax revenue, as any online casino operator who is issued a localized gambling license is expected to pay tax on the proceeds of any and all online gambling operations that take place in Bulgaria. We all know that many of the large online casino sites just ignore these types of localized regulation, offering their services to everyone, from everywhere, regardless of legality. As far as we know, Bulgaria is the first country to specifically point its finger at many of these sites, and tell them no, you can’t do this here, become regulated and pay tax, or become marked as an illegal operation in Bulgaria.

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