Bulgaria’s parliament has become the latest regime to tell Internet service providers to block access to unregulated online gambling sites. According to the Sofia News Agency, members of the Bulgarian parliament voted to pass the bill at second reading with a sole MP voicing his opposition to the plans. Rumen Ovchariv, from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, disagreed with the drawing up of a “black list” to punish offending site. He’s of the opinion that sites should be prosecuted under the Gambling Act itself. Deyan Chervenkondev, from the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, countered stating that EU directives provide the opportunity to have such a list and as such they were to adopt it.
SMS betting comes under the new law as do changes to gambling advertisements rules. New regulations pertaining to a minimum distance between casino locations and public buildings are also included. Opposition to the plans has come from a number of different places already with ISPs and rights groups among those to voice concerns. In the past, legislation like this has also been criticized by associations including the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and the European Betting and Gaming Association (EGBA). It comes after Serbia implemented similar plans last month and it could mean companies like William Hill, 888 and Betfair all excluded from these two Eastern European countries entirely.
The rate of tax will be set at 17 percent of gross profits and all applications must have five years experience operating in Bulgaria in addition to a land-based or physical presence. Parliamentarians from the ruling GERB party think the new regulations will yield 100 million leva (€50 million) per year to the public budget; something that will be used to fight any effects the recession has.