Bulgaria has just become the latest addition to the growing list of countries including Romania and Greece who are unwilling or politically unable to create a realistic set of laws to govern online gambling.
Some of these nations are still completely corrupt as well as showing an increase of populist nationalist attitudes. With lack of a proper work ethic and general disinterest the find it impossible to compete against western European corporations.
These tag-along countries, while enjoying the many benefits of being part of the European Union and exporting millions of unskilled workers to flood the labor markets of Western Europe – Romania, Greece and Bulgaria have no desire to open up their markets to foreign competition.
The draft of the new Bulgarian gambling laws was specifically structured to give a tremendous competitive advantage to Bulgarian firms. Of course this advantage comes at the expense of other EU member states, which clearly goes against the very concept of the European Union.
These countries are quite aware that no local gambling company would be able to compete against enormous foreign online gambling conglomerates with years of online gaming experience, established online brands, great positioning on leading search engines and established clientele.
In what clearly can only be interpreted as a protectionist strategy, their gambling law drafts are stuffed with a myriad of unreasonable demands whose sole purpose is to hobble businesses from other European Union member states.
Among the more offensive requirements attached to the new Bulgarian gambling law draft is a complete ban on all forms of advertising for online casinos in Bulgaria. Another part of the law requires each online casino license applicant to have at least 5 years of gambling experience within Bulgaria.
All business conducted by online casinos and online sportsbooks in Bulgaria has to go through Bulgarian Banks and payment processors and some of the server infrastructure must be located inside Bulgaria as well. The 17% tax is not winning any fans as well.
The European Commission’s opinion is yet unknown and the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) Secretary General Sigrid Ligne said, “They need to reflect on this very clear feedback from the Commission.”
“Some of the main requirements in the bill are not something that would motivate any operator to apply for a Bulgarian online gambling license. There are lots of question marks still. We need to see how the government responds to the detailed opinion.”
Reforms are now on hold until the 20th July when the government decides whether it’s better to stand up to the pressure from traditional Bulgarian casinos or to open up the market to competition.