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Bulgaria Moves to Ban Most Gambling Advertising



Sweeping Reform: Bulgaria Proposes Stringent Ban on Gambling Advertising to Curb Industry Excesses

Bulgaria is on the verge of implementing one of the most comprehensive gambling advertising bans in Europe.

Amid growing concerns over gambling addiction and its societal impacts, Bulgarian lawmakers have introduced a bill poised to transform the gambling landscape.

Imagine a society where gambling is tightly regulated, minimizing harm and promoting responsible behavior.

Dive into the details of Bulgaria’s bold legislative move and its potential implications for the future of gambling in the nation.


Bulgaria’s Bold Legislative Step

In a significant move to overhaul its gambling industry, Bulgaria is setting the stage for one of the most stringent advertising bans in recent history. The proposed bill, introduced by members of the GERB-UDF coalition and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, seeks to amend the current Law on Gambling by radically reducing the visibility of gambling ads across various media.

The Scope of the Advertising Ban

Under the proposed legislation, gambling ads would be prohibited from appearing online, on television, radio, and in print media. The visibility of such ads on buildings would also be restricted, fundamentally changing how gambling operators can promote their services. The only exceptions allowed under the bill would be on billboards situated more than 100 meters from schools and directly on gaming halls and casino buildings, limiting the exposure of gambling promotions to a more controlled environment.

Tackling Illegal Gambling Operations

Beyond advertising restrictions, the bill introduced by Temenuzka Petkova and Yordan Tsonev includes severe penalties for activities related to illegal gambling. Sites hosting illegal gambling activities would face hefty fines, and payment processors facilitating transactions for these sites would also be held accountable. This approach not only aims to curb illegal gambling but also ensures that the financial conduits supporting such activities are blocked.

Regional Restrictions and License Requirements

Reflecting strategies adopted in neighboring countries like Romania, the Bulgarian bill stipulates that slots and casino gambling be permitted only in areas with a population over 5,000, with certain exceptions for national resorts and strategic locations near major transportation hubs. This measure is designed to prevent the proliferation of gambling activities in less populated, potentially more vulnerable areas.


Additionally, the legislation proposes an increase in the capital requirements for obtaining slot machine licenses, signaling an effort to ensure that only financially stable and reliable operators can enter the market.

Socially Responsible Fund Allocation

A noteworthy aspect of the proposed changes is the redirection of funds from gambling operators towards combating gambling addiction. The bill mandates that half of the contributions required from operators be channeled to the Ministry of Health for funding addiction treatment programs. This shift not only emphasizes the social responsibility of gambling businesses but also aligns with global trends in prioritizing public health in the context of gambling.

Contextual Background and Regulatory Tightening

The push for stringent gambling regulations in Bulgaria comes against a backdrop of increased scrutiny of the gambling industry. In the past year, the Bulgarian government has intensified its regulatory focus, with the Ministry of Finance projecting significant revenue generation from gambling, while also addressing money laundering risks through enhanced enforcement mechanisms.

The establishment of a new money laundering unit by Bulgaria’s National Revenue Agency (NRA) in August last year, and the enforcement of customer verification and transaction monitoring standards, are part of broader efforts to align Bulgaria with international anti-money laundering norms.


Future Implications

As Bulgaria moves towards formalizing these sweeping regulatory changes, the landscape of gambling in the country is set to transform dramatically. The proposed ban on gambling advertising, if enacted, would align Bulgaria with a growing number of European countries adopting rigorous measures to curb gambling-related harms.

Conclusion: A Paradigm Shift in Gambling Regulation

Bulgaria’s proactive legislative approach marks a critical step in reshaping its gambling industry to foster a safer and more responsible gaming environment. By restricting advertising, tightening licensing requirements, and enhancing measures against illegal operations, Bulgaria is setting a benchmark in the region for comprehensive gambling regulation. As these changes unfold, they will likely serve as a model for other nations grappling with similar issues, underscoring Bulgaria’s commitment to safeguarding its citizens and setting high standards in gambling oversight.

Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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