Bulgaria Gambling Law Amendments: What It Means For Operators

Bulgaria is introducing a string of new reforms to its Gambling Law, including a ban on ads in the media. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Countries across the globe are constantly altering their gambling laws to meet the modern age, even more true in the more mature gambling markets of Europe. Bulgaria is one such market, thanks to its Gaming Law introduced in 1998.

The Eastern European nation has just adapted that law thanks to an approval from President Rumen Radev this week. He decided not to veto amendments to the law, which include a ban on gambling advertisements in the media.

The changes will come into force three days after their publication in the State Gazette

To assess what changes are incoming for operators with an interest in the Bulgarian market, VegasSlotsOnline News has broken down the key details of the amendments. The changes will come into force three days after their publication in the State Gazette, which is scheduled for Wednesday.

Change incoming A ban on all gambling advertising in the media:

This is the headline amendment in the reform. Gambling companies will not be permitted to advertise online, on television, on the radio, or in print media. Gambling ads can also not appear on buildings in the country.

The bill also indicates where gambling ads can appear. This includes billboards which are more than 100 meters from schools, on gambling halls and casino buildings. They must carry responsible gambling messaging covering at least 10% of each advert.

Those found contravening these rules face severe financial penalties. Operators will pay a maximum of BGN50,000 ($27,285).

Slots and casino gambling in certain areas:

The bill also limits the areas in which operators are able to offer slots and casino gambling in Bulgaria. The area must have a population of more than 10,000 people unless it is a national resort or a border area.

Operators to pay new fee:

Those companies licensed to operate in Bulgaria will now have to pay a “socially responsible fee” of which half will go to the Ministry of Health. The Ministry will then use this to treat and support gambling addicts.

This fee is set at BGN100,000 ($55,358) for online betting.

Higher capital for slots licenses:

Companies who want to apply for slot machine licenses in Bulgaria are now required to have a higher capital. This will rise 50% from the former amount to BGN750,000 ($415,188).

Regulatory shifts The changes come as a result of overwhelming support from the Bulgarian government, with 198 MPs voting in favor of the bill at a second reading session in April. The legislation was submitted earlier this year by the GERB-UDF and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms.

The Bulgarian National Revenue Agency introduced multiple changes last year

They are just the latest amendments in what is an evolving market in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian National Revenue Agency introduced multiple changes last year, including creating a new anti-money laundering unit to combat financial crime in the gambling industry.