A new bill that is set to abolish the existing gambling regulator in Bulgaria and hand its duties to the National Revenue Agency, has been adopted by the country’s legislature after passing the second reading. The Bill 054-01-51 to Amend and Supplement the Gambling Act was introduced in June 2020 and got approved by the Committee on Budgets and Finance, the Committee on Children, Youth and Sport and the Committee on Culture and the Media, before passing its first reading on June 17.
The initial plan was to create a new regulatory body, the State Gambling Agency, under the Bulgarian Council of Ministers. Nevertheless, the bill was amended by many members of the GERB party in order to allow the National Revenue Agency to take over this role. It was eventually approved at its second reading on July 23 and now President Rumen Radev should give his consent. One of the bill’s sponsors, Alexander Ivanov, stated in a recent committee hearing that the imminent changes are aiming at clarifying the status of the regulator and ensuring transparency in its procedures, in order to achieve its optimization and increase its quality.
It is worth noting that the bill sets out new capital requirements for Bulgaria’s licensed betting sites and casinos after a specific amendment that was proposed by Valeri Simeonov. More specifically, a BGN 1 million capital is required for slot licensees, a BGN 1.5 million applies to casino licensees, and a BGN 3 million capital is required for online gambling operators.
It is also worth mentioning that Simeonov had previously proposed an amendment to the Bulgarian Gambling Act, regarding the closure of all gambling halls, other than a small number of integrated casino resorts that are located close to the country’s borders.