Bulgarian Parliament passes gambling bill banning private lottery games
Bulgarian MPs voted on February 7 to pass at second reading the bill of amendments to the country’s Gambling Act that banned lottery games organised by private operators, while introducing additional restrictions on the points of sale of lottery cards.
The bill was voted without debate and will go into effect as soon as it is published in the State Gazette, which is expected to happen next week.
An amendment that would have completely banned gambling advertising, tabled by opposition socialists, did not receive enough votes to pass.
Private lottery operators would automatically lose their licences at that point and would not be allowed to sell their existing stock of lottery tickets, which will have to be destroyed by the end of the year.
Under the amended law, they will likewise not have the right to pay out winnings, raising the question about what was to happen to lottery winners whose winnings were to be paid out over a longer period of time.
Valeri Simeonov, one of the co-leaders of the ultra-nationalist United Patriots group, the junior partner in government, who was the driving force behind the amendments, was quoted as saying that such lottery winners should contact the lottery operators or file lawsuits to receive the money.
The amended law only applies to lotteries, meaning private companies can still operate raffles, bingo and keno games. The law also makes no new provisions for slot-machine gambling or sports betting, where private companies will be able to continue their current operations.