Betting Site Laws in Bulgaria Explained
With the trend of online betting growing more and more by the day, people from all over the globe are looking to jump on the trend and have some fun. The chance to win big while following a sport you enjoy is a dream for many, and betting sites give people the chance to do this from the comfort of their own home. Naturally, the online betting trend has sparked some interest in the Eastern European country of Bulgaria. As big fans of football, basketball, and volleyballs, many Bulgarians hope to ditch traditional bookies for the more convenient online alternative.
Of course, this poses the question of the legality of online betting in the country. Since many countries around the world tend to have different laws surrounding online gambling and traditional gambling, many Bulgarians are uncertain if the option is even available to them. The history of gambling laws in Bulgaria is relatively short, but it does include some important things to note. That said, here’s what you need to know about the laws regarding betting sites in Bulgaria.
Online Betting Is Legal
Gambling has been legal in Bulgaria since 1993 by government decree. Several casinos and other gambling establishments were legalized, although regulation was close to non-existent for the next few years. Thankfully, the problem with regulation was addressed appropriately in 1998 with the passing of the Gaming Law. A similar trend appeared a decade later when online gambling became legal in 2008. Regulation once again appeared to be very lax, until the 2012 Gambling Act that addressed proper regulation of online gambling inside the country.
While it’s safe to say that most people who enjoyed casual gambling were satisfied with this, providers got the short end of the stick. The restrictive tax of 15% on the total turnover of providers caused an uproar that was addressed in the 2013 Gambling Reform Bill. The reforms included a much less restrictive solution that included a one-time licensing fee of €50,000 and 20% of the provider's gross profits. With everyone more or less satisfied with the resolution, Bulgarians are now free to have a good time on a safe list of betting sites that fulfill these requirements.
Online Betting Tax Laws
As we already mentioned, thanks to the 2013 Gambling Reform Bill, the providers are taxed 20% of the provider's gross profit after paying a one-time licensing fee. Other than the very high taxes of 15% on the provider's total turnover imposed with the 2012 Gambling Act, an additional issue was the creation of a blacklist for unlicensed providers. Websites that made it on the list were blocked by internet service providers in the country, and unfortunately, the list reached a very high number of over 350 websites!
Thankfully, the Gambling Reform Bill in 2013 also addressed this problem. The newly reduced taxes made it easier for providers to obtain a license and gave them a chance to offer their services to players once more. While this is excellent news, the laws surrounding the taxation of punters are even better. The Bulgarian government doesn’t tax winnings that players make from gambling! Players might be subjected to fees from their chosen online gambling operators, but other than that, they get to keep their winnings virtually untouched.
Availability and Restrictions
The 2013 Gambling Reform Bill was a saving grace for both providers and players in Bulgaria. With the taxes now lower, the blacklist has been reduced significantly. Players are now free to play on a plethora of top-notch online betting sites as long as they’re licensed. While there are still quite a few blocked sites sitting on the blacklist, it might be for the best. The majority of these websites are unlicensed and unregulated, posing a threat to players that might be unaware of their malpractices.
Although some may seem enticing due to their offers, it wouldn’t be the first time for a betting site scam to make its way onto the gambling scene. Players should always make sure to check for licensing first whenever they hop onto an online betting site. Another restriction that needs to be addressed is the age restriction. Like with most countries across the globe, players under the age of 18 are not allowed to frequent gambling sites. Of course, this makes sense as it also corresponds to the legal drinking age in most European countries.
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