Date: 26.04.2024

by Kajetan Sawicz

Last update: 08.05.2024 12:14

Bulgaria Proposes Sweeping Ban on Gambling Advertising

The Bulgarian government has set its sights on a drastic overhaul of the country’s gambling advertising landscape. A bill unveiled on April 24, 2024, spearheaded by the GERB-UDF coalition and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, aims to impose stringent restrictions on nearly all forms of gambling advertisements.

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Overview of Proposed Legislation

Under the proposed legislation, amendments to the existing Law on Gambling would enforce a comprehensive ban on gambling advertisements across various platforms, including online channels, television, radio, and print media. Additionally, the bill targets the display of such ads on buildings, seeking to curtail their visibility.

While the bill proposes a blanket ban on most gambling advertisements, certain exceptions are outlined. Billboards situated more than 100 meters away from educational institutions could still display such ads, as could gaming and casino establishments.

Crackdown on Illegal Gambling Activities

In tandem with restricting advertising, the bill also includes measures to combat illegal gambling operations. These efforts include blocking access to illicit gambling platforms and intercepting payments directed towards them.

Non-compliance with the proposed regulations would incur hefty fines. Websites facilitating illegal gambling could face fines ranging from BGN50,000 to BGN200,000, while individuals engaging in unlawful gambling activities may be fined between BGN500 and BGN2,000.

Geographical Restrictions on Slot Machines and Casinos

The legislation also addresses the geographical distribution of gambling facilities. Slot machines and casino gambling would only be permitted in areas with more than 5,000 inhabitants, with exceptions for national resorts and locations within 30hm of major transportation networks.

Companies seeking slot machine licenses would face heightened financial prerequisites under the proposed bill. The capital requirement for license applicants would increase to between BGN500,000 and BGN750,000.

Allocation of Socially Responsible Funds

Significantly, the bill proposes changes to the allocation of socially responsible funds. Half of the required operator donations would be directed to the Ministry of Health, specifically for gambling addiction treatment programs.

This proposed legislation signals a notable shift in Bulgaria’s approach to gambling regulation. In recent years, the National Revenue Agency has taken on greater responsibility for monitoring gambling activities, responding to international pressure to strengthen anti-money laundering measures.

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