The Bulgarian State Commission on Gambling

The State Commission on Gambling is the regulatory authority in Bulgaria responsible for issuing licenses and supervising the activity of all gambling organizations in the country. Its approach to the industry is pretty liberal in the fact that all gambling is legal but subject to strict monitoring.

Licensing of online gambling, including online casinos in Bulgaria, effectively began with the Gambling Act of 2012. Prior to this, the industry was regulated by the Gambling Act of 1999. With the internet in its infancy, the 1999 Act made no mention of online gambling and was thus updated in 2012.

The Bulgarian State Commission on Gambling
Thando Dlamini
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Online Casinos Licensed by the Bulgarian State Commission on Gambling

The Bulgarian State Commission on Gambling has been issuing online licenses since 2012. Any casino game, with the exception of raffles and instant lottery games, which are state-operated, can be offered online in the country.

Applicants looking to run an online casino are subject to the same eligibility criteria as those seeking to operate a land-based establishment. Effectively anyone in Bulgaria can apply to run an online casino, whether they are Bulgarian-based companies, the Bulgarian state, sole traders, or non-profit organizations in the country. Companies based in another member state of the European Economic Area (EEA) can also apply.

Foreign companies or individuals can also apply for an online casino license, but only if they invest at least €5million in other activities in Bulgaria and create more than 500 jobs.

There are a number of other criteria any applicant is subject to, with the main points being:

  • Anyone involved in the application must not have been convicted of a crime or declared insolvent
  • Applicants must not have been sanctioned for unlicensed gambling activities
  • The applicant must have €100,000 readily available to support the performance of its online casino

About the Bulgarian State Commission on Gambling

If an applicant meets all the eligibility criteria to open an online casino, there are a number of supporting documents to complete to obtain a license. These include certificates of good standing, documents proving a source of funds, criminal record checks, and a variety of other declarations.

A government fee is paid on filing an application. This fee ranges from €5,000 to €20,000, depending upon the license being applied for. The government will then review the application, a process that generally takes between 60 and 90 days.

If the application is successful, a further fee must be paid. The cost is in the region of €10,000 for online casinos. A license will usually be issued for five years and can be renewed on the same terms as long as a renewal request is filed no later than two months before the license expires.

Applications for online casino licenses increased rapidly after the Bulgarian State Commission on Gambling reduced the tax levels on all forms of casinos in 2013. A number of international gambling companies are now present on the Bulgarian market.

Unlicensed online casinos are blacklisted in Bulgaria, and their IP addresses are blocked.

About the author
Thando Dlamini
Thando Dlamini

Thando Dlamini, a vivacious 22-year-old from South Africa, seamlessly blends her love for the vibrant world of online casinos with her meticulous localization skills, making the digital gaming experience truly South African.

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