In Bulgaria and the National Revenue Agency tax bureau has reportedly been charged with regulating the country’s gambling industry after federal lawmakers enacted a measure to abolish the previous State Commission on Gambling.
According to a Wednesday report from the online news domain at iGamingBusiness.com, the previous regulator was dissolved on Saturday following a pair of scandals that had raised serious questions regarding its ability to effectively and responsibly oversee the nation’s emerging gambling market.
iGamingBusiness.com reported that the Chairman for the State Commission on Gambling, Alexander Georgiev, resigned in February after being questioned as part of an investigation linked to local gambling mogul Vasil Bozhkov, who runs the Eurofootball sportsbetting business. The source detailed that this enterprise is the oldest sportsbook firm in Bulgaria but had its operating license pulled for three months in late-March over allegations that it owed approximately $182.4 million in unpaid tax.
The domain reported that this indignity came only a few weeks after another Bozhkov-linked gambling enterprise, National Lottery AD, had been forced to hand back its own license. The operator behind the iGaming site at 7777.bg was moreover purportedly further embarrassed and left on the brink of bankruptcy when sportsbook technology provider Kambi Group subsequently suspended its supply contract.
The country’s National Assembly reacted to these indignities by passing Bill 054-01-51 to officially dissolve the State Commission on Gambling and hand its duties over to the National Revenue Agency, which is headed by Galya Dimitrova. This legislation was purportedly the brainchild of Alexander Ivanov, who is a member of the center-right GERB political party, and is part of an effort to completely reshape Bulgaria’s gambling landscape so as to make it more responsible and accountable.
The source reported that Valeri Simenov from the right-wing National Front for Salvation political party, which rules Bulgaria in coalition with its IMRO, GERB and Volya compatriots, had earlier successfully introduced a measure that handed a monopoly over all lottery games to the state-owned Sports Totalisator concern. iGamingBusiness.com explained that this consequently forced a number of private operators out of the market with the former Deputy Prime Minister furthermore known to be keen on closing almost all of his country’s slot parlors and permitting only a few integrated casino resorts to operate along the nation’s international borders.