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Bulgaria – National Revenue Agency takes responsibility of Bulgaria’s gambling regulation

By - 18 August 2020

The Bulgarian National Revenue Agency (NRA) will oversee the regulation of gambling in Bulgaria, following the decision by legislators to axe the country’s previous gambling regulator, the State Commission on Gambling (SCG).

Galya Dimitrova will oversee the new authority as the NRA’s Executive Director. The abolition of the State Gambling Commission (SGC) followed fierce criticism with links between senior members and organised crime. The Government prosecuted businessman Vasil Bozhkov whose Eurofootball business, the oldest sports betting operator in Bulgaria, had its operating licence suspended in March over unpaid taxes. Another of Bozhkov’s gambling businesses, National Lottery AD, handed back its operating licence, that same month with SCG chair, Alexander Georgiev, resigning after being linked to the controversy.

The National Revenue Agency is now pushing a bill to reserve ten per cent of gambling proceeds to fund culture. Proposals being considered by the local Legislature would see an increase in licensing fees for slot halls and casino in the country. Under the proposed changes, individuals looking to establish a slot hall would be required to prove financial reserves of no less than BGN500,000, an increase from BGN7,500. Licenses for opening a casino would cost BGN1.5m.

Another proposal is looking to restrict casinos in the country to five-star hotel resorts and sites within 20 km of the state borders. There have been demonstrations outside Parliament amid claims that small- and medium-sized gambling businesses would be wiped out leading to mass redundancies.

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