As European countries begin draft legislation on regulation and taxation of online gambling, many have sought to protect their national monopolistic Internet casino, poker and sportsbook websites in one way or another.
In the proposed new Greek gambling laws, the country would open to online gaming next week – but only Greece-based OPAP would be authorized to provide sports betting and lottery wagering through 2019. In France, many foreign operators have complained about exorbitant tax rates that seemed geared toward giving the online sportsbooks in France a big advantage. And Poland’s recent draft law was rejected by the European Commission for unfair requirements on foreign-based casino providers.
The newly proposed Bulgarian gambling laws, however, may be the most protectionist of all, with regulations that are certain to get the legislation labeled as “unfair” by European Union authorities.
In the bill, operators of online gambling sites in Bulgaria would have to open offices in *each* of the country’s 28 provinces – and would not be allowed to advertise in any medium even if authorized to do business there. Additionally, the bill contains no clauses on fraud protection, age verification and gambling education programs: all tenets required under European law.
With this law seemingly doomed to failure before it even leaves the Bulgarian parliament, some European providers are already lobbying complaint against the government. The status quo of the legal gray area for gambling in Bulgaria seems to be here to stay for the time being.