Ivan Kostov, The leader of Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria, has called for a complete ban on all forms of gambling in Bulgaria. Gambling in the country has been legal since 1993, though tighter regulation and heavy taxation were introduced in 1998. Despite the huge increase in the number of casinos and bingo rooms opening all across Bulgaria during the last decade, Kostov has noted that current taxation fails to provide the state significant funds – at least not enough to counter the negative effects gambling has on Bulgarian society.
Kostov argues that the only people who are benefiting financially from the current Bulgarian gambling laws are casino owners, while the state is not seeing any significant revenue coming from the local gambling industry.
Things are slowly changing – on 15 October, the Bulgarian government approved a proposal to increase gambling taxes on certain games of chance, bringing all Bulgarian gambling taxes to an even 12%. The move, warns Kostov, could force local land-based gambling companies into bankruptcy.
As an alternative to a complete gambling ban, Eurofootball suggests that the regulation of online gambling in Bulgaria might be the answer. The group would face significant losses if their land operations were subjected to new higher taxes, but could see a considerable increase in revenue if internet betting in Bulgaria were better controlled.
The gambling laws in Bulgaria have been in flux for many years, so until the Bulgarian government takes a firm stance on the issue, players in Bulgaria face an uncertain future.