Bulgarian Parliament passes Gambling Act amendments

Bulgaria’s Parliament passed at second reading on December 19 the bill of amendments to the country’s Gambling Act, which brings the country’s legislation closer to international practices and ends the blacklisting of online gambling operators.

The key provision of the amendment bill is changing the way gambling is taxed – replacing the 15 per cent tax on gambling revenues with a one-off licensing fee of 100 000 leva (about 50 000 euro) and a 20 per cent tax on the “difference between the bets made and the winnings paid out”.

Games of chance that rely on collecting fees or commissions will be required to pay 20 per cent of such revenue as tax.

The amendments also ban gambling operators from manufacturing, importing or servicing gambling machines. An exception was made for importing machines if they are to be used by the operator itself.

MPs voted down an amendment that would have allowed operators to expand the scope of their advertising after opposition party GERB argued that this would give operators an opening to target young customers.

The final passing of the amendments, tabled last month, is expected to bring back foreign online operators to the Bulgarian market.

Also last month, the Cabinet amended gambling license regulations, creating the opportunity for gambling operators to apply for a licence online, which would make it easier for operators based outside Bulgaria to apply and receive a license.

Online gambling operators have decried, in the past, Bulgaria’s taxation of gambling revenues, saying that it made operations in Bulgaria unprofitable. This has been the main reason for the reluctance of foreign gambling operators to register in Bulgaria, reports in Bulgarian media said.

That, in turn, has prompted Bulgaria’s Gambling Commission to blacklist dozens of gambling websites, requesting by court order that Bulgarian internet service providers cut access to such websites.

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



The Sofia Globe staff

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