Bulgaria’s gambling regulator is demonstrating that even though gambling isn’t necessarily addictive, adding names to an online gambling blacklist just might be. The Bulgarian Gambling Commission started its demonization of firms last month with a mere 20 domain names, adding around 30 more shortly thereafter, followed now by a further 26 domains, bringing the total list to an impressive 76 names. It would be nice if Bulgaria would get around to actually implementing its online gambling regulations, which would allow some of these blacklisted operators to apply for a Bulgarian-issued license, but hey, you never interrupt a gambler (or a gambling regulator) when he’s on a hot streak.
As with previous efforts, it’s not readily apparent that any of the blacklist’s most recent additions ever directly targeted Bulgarian gamblers, such as Bet365’s dot-country sites for Spain and Denmark, or Unibet’s Australian-, French-, Italian- or Belgian-facing sites. PinnacleSports, 12Bet and 5Dimes were also among those given three days to stop serving Bulgarian customers, or maybe start serving Bulgarian customers so that they can then turn around and say they’ve stopped doing that thing that they weren’t previously doing.
Bulgaria’s puritanical stance on the online gambling front stands in direct contrast with its well-deserved hedonistic reputation. The country made a strong showing on Bloomberg’s most recent list of decadent jurisdictions, placing fifth among the 57 countries surveyed for the vice-prone list. Only Armenia, Australia, Slovenia and chart-toppers the Czech Republic outdid Bulgaria on Bloomberg’s list, which ranked countries based on four key metrics: consumption of alcohol, cigarettes and illegal drugs as well as total gambling losses as a percentage of GDP.
Bulgarian adults were found to consume 11.4 liters of alcohol and 2,822 cigarettes per year, while notching high rates for prevalence of cannabis (2.5%), amphetamines (1%), ecstasy (0.7%) and cocaine (0.6%) usage. Net gambling losses amounted to 0.82% of Bulgaria’s GDP, a figure we have to assume will plummet dramatically next year due to Bulgaria’s not-at-all-useless blacklisting of sites that may or may not have ever trespassed into Bulgarian cyberspace.