On 23 July, the Bulgarian parliament adopted the Act on amendment and supplementation of the Gambling Act (AASGA). The AASGA was promulgated in the State Gazette on 29 July 2020 and the amendments entered into force on Monday, 10 August 2020.
A key moment in the amendments is the change in the supervision over gambling and gambling-related activities - it shifts from the State Commission on Gambling to the National Revenue Agency. The State Commission on Gambling ceases to exist and its assets, liabilities, archives, real estate, as well as rights and obligations are transferred to the National Revenue Agency.
The Executive Director of the National Revenue Agency is vested with the power to issue, terminate and revoke licenses for organising gambling games. Consequently, the tax authorities are responsible for the control over investments made and used for organising gambling games by licensed operators.
Among others, there is an extension in the terms of the licenses, for which a revocation procedure has been initiated. The terms are extended until the Executive Director of the National Revenue Agency delivers a decision.
License issuance procedures, which have not been completed until the entry into force of the amendments to the Gambling Act, will be completed in accordance with the existent statutory requirements (i.e. the requirements before the adoption of the amendments) within 6 months from the entry into force of the amendments.
Pursuant to the promulgated amendments to the Gambling Act the amounts for investments, made as a condition for obtaining a license, are increased as follows:
► investments made in the amount of not less than BGN 1,000,000 and funds for organising the game in the amount of not less than BGN 1,000,000 are replaced by investments made in the amount of not less than BGN 2,500,000 and funds for organising the game in the amount of not less than BGN 1,000,000;
► the requirement for fully paid capital amount is increased to BGN 1,500,000 for casinos and gaming halls.
The proposal for an increased amount of the one-time fee for casinos and gaming halls was highly debated between the first and second hearing of the AASGA. Ultimately, MPs determined the fee between BGN 250,000 and BGN 500,000.000.
In accordance with the amendments to the Gambling Act, the financial requirements for small-sized companies in the sector have been increased, and the access of sole traders to licenses for casinos and gaming halls has been suspended. Only limited liability companies or joint stock companies with shares will be entitled to organise gambling games.
Furthermore, the National Revenue Agency will step in and substitute the State Commission on Gambling in the administrative and administrative-penal proceedings, which have been initiated by the Commission.
MPs also decided that 10% of the revenues after taxation from the activity of the Bulgarian Sports Totalisator will be dedicated to supporting cultural activities.