Thursday November 14 ,2013 : BULGARIAN LAWMAKERS SEEKING AMENDMENTS TO GAMBLING LAW
Politicians want legalization that is closer to international practice….and may include a friendlier tax regime.
It appears that the operator criticism of Bulgaria's punitive online gambling tax regime may have hit home with parliamentarians in the Eastern European nation; the Sofia Globe reports that a bill seeking to amend the country's gambling law has been introduced to parliament and is sponsored by 11 MPs.
The lawmakers want to ensure that Bulgaria's legalization is more closely aligned with international practice…and they want to call a halt to the national gambling regulator’s tactic of adding online gambling sites willy-nilly to the national blacklist of operators.
The move is a bipartisan one supported by MPs from the two parties in the ruling alliance, but it is as yet unclear when it will come to the floor for debate.
One of the major changes proposed is that of taxation, replacing the present 15 percent tax on gambling revenues with a one-off licensing fee of 100 000 leva ( around Euro 50 000) and a 20 percent tax on the “difference between the bets made and the winnings paid out”.
Such a change should go some way to assuaging the fears of operators that over-taxation will make the market unsustainable, therefore discouraging licensee applications from foreign companies
Lawmakers are also rethinking the Bulgarian Gambling Commission's practice of blacklisting dozens of online gambling websites, requesting by court order that Bulgarian internet service providers block access.
They say that the tactic does not appear to have encouraged operators to licence, and that geolocation restrictions can be bypassed, rendering the efficiency of this sort of measure debatable.
The UK-based Remote Gaming Association, a trade body representing the interests of many of Europe's leading operators, has characterised the proposed amendments as encouraging