The Bulgarian lottery is currently being operated by the Bulgarian Sports Totalizator (BST), which has recently highlighted the importance of potential regulatory changes, as they are usually politically motivated.
So far, there have been some crucial regulatory changes to the activities of the Bulgarian Sports Totalizator, with the amendments being expected to go into effect starting in August. The BST is the state-owned “Toto” (pretty much the same as lotto) provider in Bulgaria but, unlike lotto, it provides some additional sports games – both in brick-and-mortar shops and online.
The most recent change proposals in the country’s lottery are set to affect the Bulgarian Sports Totalizator’s venues. Under the amendments, the BST will be required to provide all its games only within its own network. As a result, the changes will see about 1,500 gaming operation sites reduced to approximately 600 and this, in its turn, would for sure have a negative effect on the revenue generated by the business.
The ITN political party in Bulgaria tabled a counter-proposal in its latest bill proposition, with several members of the party – Iva Miteva, Lyubomir Karimanski, and Andrey Mihaylov – currently calling for opening up to 3,000 new gaming points of sales across the country. Two main types of wagers are described in the proposed piece of legislation – games that require fact knowledge and random event betting.
ITN Politica Party Initiates the Proposal for the Latest Changes in Bulgarian Gambling Law
The proposed bill seeks to establish a more noticeable distinguishment between casino, bingo or slot machine games and other forms of gambling available in Bulgaria. The piece of legislation also seeks to make sure new gambling venues are given a specific status and are marked as gambling venues for a certain game. The proposal of the ITN political party has also suggested that all new gambling venues are established on premises that the Bulgarian Sports Totalizator owns or rents directly and offer self-service devices.
According to the preliminary projection provided by the party, the proposed amendments to the local gambling legislation should not pose any additional administrative burden or add up to the expenses of the BST.
An independent proposal for an increase in the number of gaming venues for the state-owned Bulgarian Sports Totalizator has been made by Deyan Petkov, who asked for 1 venue per 1,725 people. Presumably, Mr. Petkov has had in mind 1,725 people who have the right to gamble, but the exact characterization of his proposal remained unclear.
The proposal for the aforementioned gambling law changes comes at a time when the political climate in Bulgaria is in turmoil. Currently, almost all political parties in the country are in a hurry to propose as many bills as possible, even though the lawmakers will not have enough to take them into consideration let alone vote them through. Having this in mind, the practical consequences for the Bulgarian Sports Totalizator remain unknown.
The Bulgarian Sports Totalizator was given the full monopoly on the country’s lottery in 2020 after the lawmakers passed a bill to amend the 2012 Gambling Act. Furthermore, they initiated a movement to try and impose stricter regulation on the state-owned company, and the political connections of some former BST directors have been exposed.
Recently, a new director of the BST – Alexander Todorov – took over, with Mr. Todorov being selected by Bulgaria’s former minister of sports Radostin Vasilev. Throughout the years, the person controlling the Bulgarian Sports Totalizator has always been known for their links to all relative governmental bodies and their actions, which, in its turn might appear as an advantage to political parties supporting the BST directors so far.