Bulgaria’s Gambling Commission moves to ban online betting

Bulgaria’s Gambling Commission has blacklisted 22 online betting sites for failing to acquire Bulgarian gambling licences.

Under the country’s Gambling Act, last amended in 2012, all companies that offer any games of chance in Bulgaria must hold a Bulgarian gambling licence and pay tax – in Bulgaria, gambling operators are taxed 15 per cent on their turnover.

The blacklist includes some of the most popular online bookmakers – Bet365, Sportingbet, Ladbrokes, 888, Bet-at-Home, BetFred and BetFair – but does not cover any other types of online gambling, such as online poker websites.

The commission said, according to reports in Bulgarian media, that the blacklist would be constantly updated.

At the same time, the Gambling Commission is yet to draft the regulations outlining the licence application process for online betting sites, but it has received two such applications, including one by a website in the blacklist, mass circulation daily Trud reported.

Currently, three local operators hold a licence to offer betting on sporting events – state-owned Bulgarian Sport Totalisator and the private Eurofootball and Eurobet, according to a report in local newspaper Kapital Daily. The latter two are linked to controversial Bulgarian businessman Vassil Bozhkov, the report said.

While the decision can be appealed within a 14-day period of the announcement, doing so does not suspend the execution of the Gambling Commission’s decision, the commission said.

The blacklisted websites have three days to cut access to Bulgarian customers, the Gambling Commission said, according to the reports in Bulgarian media. If they fail to do so, the Commission can ask Sofia District Court to order the country’s internet service providers to block access to the websites.

However, it is not clear what would be the legal repercussions, if any, on Bulgarian customers using proxy servers to access the betting websites.

(Photo: Kevin van der Draai/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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