The first online sportsbook license has been awarded in Bulgaria, and it has gone to local operator VBulletin. The company will pay around $27,000 for the license, despite the fact it already runs two prominent sportsbooks – Eurobet and Eurofootball – from a Malta license.
This gambling news comes as the Bulgarian government continues its crackdown on unlicensed operators, with a number of new names being added to a blacklist now 133 names long.
Among those to fall foul of Bulgarian gambling laws are Interwetten, Samvo, Pokerheaven, Bet-At Casino, and Igame. This follows the introduction of a 15% tax on Bulgarian online operators, with the government looking to secure extra tax income to help the country, as the unemployment rate continues to rise back towards 15%.
As the first supplier of legal online sportsbooks in Bulgaria since the new regulations came in, VBulletin will be looking to take advantage of its position to gain a healthy market share. It is likely, however, that other countries will be quick to get their hands on the new licenses following the controversy that came hand in hand with the new regulations earlier this year.
Indeed, while it was necessary for operators to hold a Bulgarian license, it was impossible for them to get their hands on one, resulting in many companies finding their names on the aforementioned blacklist.
Earlier in September, however, a number of entries were removed from this list, seen as a sign that the license process would soon be up and running.
Gambling companies will be happy that they can legally enter the Bulgarian market again, but the high tax rate will continue to be an issue for many. Meanwhile, negotiations still go on over the Europe wide direction on gambling regulation. With the UK’s Remote Gambling Association calling for a unified direction, it will be interesting to see which countries follow suit.