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Bulgaria votes for gambling advertising ban

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Bulgaria will ban nearly all gambling advertisements after the government approved a new bill,

The bill, which was submitted last week to the Bulgarian Parliament, aims at amending Bulgaria’s gambling law. The bill proposes to ban gambling advertisements online, in radio, television and print media. The ads would not even be permitted to appear on the buildings.

This bill was jointly submitted by the GERB and UDF and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms.

The new rules are now set to be implemented. Yesterday (30 April), 198 members of parliament voted for the bill in a second-reading session, with no abstentions or absentees.

The bill is now in force, three days after it has been published in the State Gazette. This is yet to be confirmed.

What is the latest rule in Bulgaria?

This bill amends Bulgaria’s gambling law. The bill also includes other amendments to the law of the country. New advertising is the main change.

The bill also specifies where advertisements are allowed. Billboards located more than 100 meters from schools, gaming halls or casino buildings will be the only places where ads are allowed.

The ban does not include broadcasts on Bulgarian television of sports betting draws.

Advertisements that are shown must include a message about responsible gambling. The bill stipulates that this must be at least 10% and include relevant information for consumers.

Operators that do not comply with the new measures could face financial penalties of up to BGN50,000 (PS21,842/EUR25,565/$27,285). Repetition offenders may also have their Bulgarian licence revoked.

In order to ensure compliance, the Council for Electronic Media is responsible for monitoring. If there are any violations it will report the matter to Bulgarian National Revenue Agency.

More amendments made to the gambling laws

The bill also increases the capital required by companies to obtain a slot machine license. The amount required to apply for a slot machine licence will increase from BGN500,000 up to BGN750,000.

Bill also allows slots and casino gaming only in places with more than 10,000 people. National resorts and areas near borders are exempted. Romanian parliament passed a similar measure earlier this month.

Licensees must now pay an “socially-responsible fee”, set at BGN100,000. This is for betting online. Half of this will be donated to the Ministry of Health to support and treat gambling addiction.

The other amendments include a restriction on the ability of people to remove themselves from the self-exclusion national gambling list if they receive some type of social assistance.

Bulgaria’s gambling industry is evolving

The gambling regulations in Bulgaria have recently undergone a number of changes.

In August last year, the NRA created a money laundering unit that enforces anti-money laundering regulations. The unit covers important issues like customer verification and transactions monitoring.

Last year the NRA also ordered that operators ban employees who have self-excluded themselves from gambling or casinos.

After Bulgaria abolished its State Gambling Commission (SGC) in 2020, the NRA assumed control over gambling regulations in the country.

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