Despite the first wave of casino openings happened almost 40 years ago, in fact legislation framework was absent for almost 2 decades. Finally, in 1999 the Law on the regulation of gambling (or Law for Hazarta) was adopted. With a number of additions and amendments introduced in the following years, it regulates the market till nowadays, setting the ground rules concerning gambling entertainment.
Running gambling business in Bulgaria
Launching a legal gambling business in Bulgaria is only allowed for holders of special licenses, the issuance of which is a prerogative of to the State Commission on Gambling. Applicants must meet a number of requirements, the basic meaning of which is to protect the market from unscrupulous dealers and criminal gangs.
The ban on engaging directly in gambling and its attendant activities (production, sales, maintenance of equipment, etc.) is applied to companies whose owners, directors or managers:
- have been convicted of a criminal offense (other than in the subsequent rehabilitation);
- recognized as bankrupt;
- recognized by the court guilty of tax violations;
- have been convicted of engaging in illegal gambling.
The minimum share capital of the company of the license applicant equals 500 thousand levove ($ 300 thousand). State entities have the right to engage in gambling just as the organizers of the lottery and betting games.
The authority supervising the activities is represented by the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Youth and Sports. All proceeds from these games can be directed exclusively to finance education, health, culture, sports and social projects.
A foreign company that looking to open a casino in Bulgaria is obliged to buy or build a hotel of no less than 4* rating. Another possible way of plunging into local gambling business, as described in the article posted by Matt Schroder on dgfev.de gambling hub, representing one of the most savvy gambling review online databases, is investing at least $10 million in any other sector of the economy and create at least 500 jobs.
State Commission on Gambling
Being a branch of the Ministry of Finance of the State, the Commission on Gambling is responsible for control of gambling in Bulgaria. The agency’s structure includes a chairman and four members appointed by the Minister of Finance. Requirements for members of the commission are quite tough: briefly, a person must have unblemished reputation and way above average management skills.
A member of the commission can be a citizen of Bulgaria with higher education, having sufficient skills and no previous convictions for premeditated crimes. At least three of the commission board shall be lawyers with 5 years of experience in the specialty. And, of course, no one is allowed to have even indirect interests relating to the gambling industry. This is what makes the commission truly independent.
Among the powers of the Commission are:
- all the aspects of issuance, renewal, suspension and revocation of licenses enabling to engage in gambling;
- adoption of bylaws, specifying the provisions of the current legislation;
- controlling the activity of gambling enterprises;
- conduction of audits and investigations;
- fining (grounds and sanctions described in details in the Gambling Act);
- control of the timely payments of taxes and fees.