The Bulgarian government has decided to include a ban on casino advertisements within the new draft of the Gambling Act, to the dismay of casino operators and insiders. The addendum to Bulgarian gambling laws is being met with stiff opposition from powerful traditional and online casino owners who spoke against the measure during this week’s meeting between government attorneys and casino owners. Casino industry insiders are demanding equity in laws and more business oriented legislation that will encourage growth instead of stifle it with prohibitive laws.
Owners of traditional and online casinos are unhappy in the way that the Government introduced their gambling framework and especially about the ban on advertisements which internet gambling operators consider discriminatory. The casino industry began a well funded lobbying campaign to remove the anti-advertising language from the framework. Casinos would like the government to treat gambling in the same manner as smoking, with warnings imbedded into the advertising campaign, instead of complete prohibition.
BTAMOGI, The Bulgarian Gaming Association, has been diligent in receiving input from the European Union regarding the gambling framework, sending a delegation to a recent European Gaming & Amusement Federation (EUROMAT) conference in Strasbourg. EUROMAT estimates that gambling in Europe generated over 21 billion Euros in 2009 and the industry employed 280,000 people. EUROMAT encourages all forms of gambling to be treated in similar ways without any discriminatory laws focused on any particular traditional or online casino in Bulgaria.
“Today has been all about ensuring that when decisions are made at EU level which impact our sector, that those decisions are based on concrete knowledge as to how our sector operates, how many people we employ & our commitment to providing gambling services in a responsible manner”, stated Annette Kok, President of EUROMAT. There are currently 20 large-scale casinos and 50 bingo halls operating in Bulgaria.