A Quick Look at Bulgaria’s Highly Regulated Gambling Industry
Gambling in Bulgaria is prevalent as there’s no shortage of casinos and bookmakers offering novel and various betting options to Bulgarians aged 18 and older. The nation’s gambling market has been seeing a robust and continuing growth as most high-end casinos in Bulgaria maintain their own web-based sports betting site and online casino.
Bulgaria has a relatively small population of 7 million people, of which 5 million are ascertained as active Internet users. However, due to the proliferation of gambling venues and betting options across the country, Bulgaria’s gambling industry is one of the most audited by independent European gambling regulators.
Sports betting is in fact the popular method of gambling among Bulgarians. Yet it should be clear that for betting to be legal in this Balkan country, betting is legal only if placed with Bulgaria-certified bookmakers through their duly licensed online betting sites. Actually, there are no stand alone land-based sports betting shops in the country.
Bulgarian Gambling License is Only for Domestic Gambling Operations
A Bulgarian gambling license is awarded only for domestic operations. Several major international bookmakers do not accept bets from local Bulgarian sports bettors to avoid getting blacklisted. Reports have it that reputable international bookmakers deem it best to abide by Bulgarian gamblings laws. That way, they will not hurt their chances of getting approved for their pending local gaming license.
International bookmaker for one stayed compliant by not participating in the Bulgarian online gambling market while unlicensed. It was only after Betano’s parent company Kaizen Gaming Limited was awarded a certification and license approval in early 2022 that it began to offer and accept sports bets from local gamblers. Like many other virtual sports books, Betano has no physical betting shop in Bulgaria.
Some international betting sites have no problem processing bets placed by Bulgarian players. On the other hand, Bulgarian sports bettors have become wary as many have experienced problems in getting their withdrawals processed. Aside from the debit and credit cards serviced by Visa and Mastercard, many Bulgarians trust only ePay and EasyPay as ewallet providers and online payment processors.
Who are Qualified to Open and Operate a Gambling Business in Bulgaria
As much as Bulgarians are passionate about gambling, the government has made many changes to its Gambling Act to ensure the safety and protection of the industry against unscrupulous individuals and criminals . As a highly regulated industry, punters feel confident and safe when engaging in gambling and sports betting activities in licensed and closely supervised offline and online gambling venues.
At the very onset, the State Gambling Commission (SGC) must not accept and approve license applications from individuals with criminal records, with history of violating Bulgarian laws, and without sufficient financial resources to back up gambling operations.
Even the biggest betting companies who violate the country’s gambling laws, as well as foreign operators face sanctions and fines.
However, in light of the issues of corruption committed by officials of the State Gambling Commission (SGC), Bulgaria’s parliament amended the Gambling Act by abolishing SGC, Thereafter another bill in 2021, was passed. In SGC’s stead, parliament designated the National Revenue Agency of the Finance Ministry as the new gambling industry regulator.