Bulgarian gambling laws are undergoing revision. As has been the case in Romania and many other nations attempting to protect monopolist online sportsbooks, poker rooms, and casinos from foreign competition, their recently proposed gambling legislation has met fatal condemnation.
In Bulgaria’s case, however, it was the public who stood against the tender’s outrageous “necessities” and the Bulgarian government is already planning to change their pitch.
The worst requirements included:
– All operators must maintain a retain unit in each of Bulgaria’s 28 regions.
– All operators must be secured by at least €500,000 in a Bulgarian bank account.
– All operators must locate their equipment, servers, and support staff in Bulgaria.
These terms are clearly anticompetitive, making it impractical if not impossible for additional companies to enter or emerge within the market to offer internet gambling in Bulgaria. As barriers which force international companies to remain outside this market, these provisions ignore EU free trade laws. The Bulgarian State Commission on Gambling’s chairman Kaloyan Krastev free admits “Bulgarian operators want to be better protected and want more barriers to foreign operators coming into the market. We are trying to strike a balance.”
From a legal standpoint, this stance is dubious as Bulgaria’s EU membership demands free trade with other European nations. It order for Bulgaria to honour their commitments, all EU licensed EU companies must have an equal opportunity to function within Bulgaria and Bulgarian citizens must be equally free to utilize the services of foreign companies.