Amendments to the Law on Gambling leads to diversion of investments for millions from Bulgaria

Bulgaria/September 2013

According to a decision of the Sofia City Court, effectively from June 17 2013, a total of 22 sites for sports betting are forbidden by the State Gambling Committee. The reason is that they do not have the license required by the Law on gambling, that entered into force last year. Among the online portals are the biggest betting sites in the world. The number of the blocked web-sites increases every two weeks, due to the new alternative web-sites that open daily.

Officially the amendments, referring to hundreds of millions of leva and it is not only  connected with the betting via internet, but imposes an unprecedented censorship in internet, compared to that of countries like North Korea, China, Iran, Iraq, Syria and other countries.

The announcement of the forbidden sites list legally is treated as notice to the gambling companies to block the access to their sites from Bulgaria or only to limit the acceptance of bettings.

If the access is not stopped, the committee then will address the Sofia Regional Court to announce its verdict and if the court rules a decision in favor of the regulator, the ball then swings off to the internet suppliers who will have to ban the access to the quoted sites.

The paradox is that in accordance with the Law on gambling the sites should have licenses but in the same time there is no law frame that specifies what the procedure of issuing of such licenses is. Due to that although there are deposited applications for the issuing of licenses for online bettings from big companies, the licensing procedure cannot start a year now as the State Committee itself has not prepared yet the needed for the purpose regulations to the law.

The fact is that this situation chased away companies that invested millions in the country, while in ‘normal’ European countries they sponsor teams like Manchester United, Barcelona, Milan and others.

The conclusion is that in this way the state will stimulate with tens and even hundreds of millions of Leva the illegal bookmakers throughout Bulgaria, which means that hundreds of millions of tax will not be collected into the Bulgarian treasury.

Eurofast Global, Sofia Office
Tel. +359 2 988 69 77