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Bulgarian Bill to ban gambling advertisements

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Yesterday (24 April), a bill to ban gambling advertisements in Bulgaria has been submitted.

This bill was submitted jointly by GERB and Movement for Rights and Freedoms. Temenuzka Tsonev and Yordan Petkova introduced the bill.

This bill amends Bulgaria’s Gambling Law. The bill proposes to ban gambling advertisements appearing on TV, radio, and print media. The ads would not even be permitted to appear on the buildings.

Ads will only appear on billboards that are more than 100 meters from schools, gaming halls or casino buildings.

Petkova and Tsoney proposed to ban access to sites hosting illegal gambling as well as block payment. For sites that facilitate illegal gambling, Petkova and Tsonev stipulate a fine ranging between BGN50,000 (PS21,900/EUR25,564/$27,419) to BGN200,000. The fine also applies to businesses that facilitate payments for illegal gambling operators.

A fine between 500 and 2,000 BGN would be imposed on those who engage in illegal gambling.

Slot machines in areas with low population density are banned.

Slots and casino gaming would only be permitted in places with more than 5,000 people. National resorts, areas within 30m of roads, rails and rivers and those that are no further than 30m from them would be exempted.

In a vote earlier this month, the Romanian parliament approved implementing a proposal similar. By voting for the Government Emergency Ordinance 82/2023 it banned slot machines from areas where there is a population under 15,000 In effect, this bans slot machines from rural areas.

The bill proposes that the capital required by companies to obtain a slot machine license be increased from BGN500,000 up to BGN750,000. This increase will be between BGN500,000 and BGN750,000.

The distribution of socially responsible funding would change as well, with the half required by operators to donate going to the Ministry of Health for treatment programs of gambling addiction.

Bulgaria tightens up its regulations

Bulgaria has banned gambling advertisements after focusing on the sector in recent years. The ministry of Finance estimated in January that gambling could generate BGN200m to the Bulgarian budget.

The National Revenue Agency of Bulgaria (NRA), launched in August 2012, a money-laundering unit that enforces anti-money-laundering requirements such as transaction monitoring and customer verification. This unit was created in response to pressure by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a watchdog for money laundering.

The NRA is responsible for monitoring gambling advertisements in Bulgaria under the Gambling Law. After Bulgaria’s State Gambling Commission was abolished in 2020, the NRA assumed control.

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

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