Bulgaria Continues to Work on Amending Gambling Act; Doing Away with State Gambling Commission

Changes are on the horizon for Bulgaria when it comes to overall gambling industry. The National Assembly of Bulgaria recently approved a second reading of a bill that will see the Gambling Act amended. If approved, the State Gambling Commission will be removed from power and the gambling industry of Bulgaria will be overseen by the National Revenue Agency.

The goal of the change is to reestablish control of the online and land-based gambling sectors. The Revenue Agency will be in charge of legal aspects of the industry along with archives and assets of the former overseer. If the change takes place, a liquidation commission will be created by the Cabinet and the Commission shut down for three months for the transfer.

Previously, the National Assembly considered replacing the Commission with a state agency. However, this did not come to pass as it was found that senior members of the commission had been accused of being associated with organized crime.

In the bill, there is an amendment that includes placing 10% of gambling proceeds to cultural development. This is considered an issue of sorts as there might be tension from sports federations as they received money from the industry and this would mean some of their funds would be removed.

Additional amendments within the legislation includes imposing tougher financial capital requirements for new gambling operators. The bill requires a company that opens a slot hall has to have reserves of $297,000. For an operator to offer a full service casino will need much more, at close to $700,000.

As the vote was set to take place, protests took place outside the Assembly. Several groups showed up to protest the amendment changes. These groups consisted of casino employees who are afraid that they will lose their jobs as a result of the many changes listed in the legislation.

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