The head of the National Revenue Agency (NRA) Rumen Spetsov woke up before the election - the tax authorities started a large-scale inspection throughout the country of the attempts of gambling companies such as Palms bet, "Pate play", Betano, "Alphabet Gaming" of Lyubomir Zakharinov and "Elite Bet" to turn cafes, bars, bill pay kiosks and other commercial establishments into online betting venues. In this way, they lure even Bulgarians who are not tempted by gambling to enter the thickets of vice and take a bite out of their poor food for the pleasure of the gambling bosses.
We remind you that the turnover of gambling companies of the caliber of Palms bet, "Pate play", Betano, "Alphabet Gaming" and "Elite Bet" is a billion per year in total. On the other hand, according to data from the Ministry of Finance, every fourth adult Bulgarian gambles, and every tenth has a serious addiction and needs psychiatric treatment. To top it off, the Ministry of Internal Affairs recently released a statistic that every second drug kingpin has mosquito bites and starts selling drugs to make ends meet.
The press center of the Ministry of Finance is investigating whether the devices, visually resembling attractive slot machines, are ordinary computers, as claimed by the gambling industry, or can be considered gaming machines.
In simple terms, the NRA checks whether white-collar criminals have turned innocent spaces such as supermarkets and utility bill payment points into mobile casinos. For such a violation, hefty fines are due, and in case of a more serious offense, even jail time, investigators issued.
Legal betting in our country is done only with an available license, which describes the places for land betting and the devices through which this can be done.
"The revenue agency checks the way bets are placed and accepted, the way winnings are paid out, the accountability of electronic devices, as well as the internet access offered by the site. Due to the technical specificity of the devices, the examiners also requested an expert opinion from the Bulgarian Institute of Metrology (BIM), which would allow the NRA to gain clarity on the nature and technical capabilities and application of the used "Kiosk" terminals," commented the Ministry of Finance.
The inquiry follows a growing number of reports from gambling users who notice that ordinary retail outlets are being rebranded with billboards for Palms bet, Pate Play, Betano, Alphabet Gaming and Elite Bet.
After a report of a similar practice by "Alphabet Gaming" by the MP from "We continue the change" Kristina Petkova, the National Narcotics Agency started an inspection of a site in Dobrinishte, and the owner of the gambling company Lyubomir Zaharinov explained that he was temporarily suspending his company's new program until the inspection of the income tax was completed. agency and the achievement of consensus in the sector in order not to reach a new gambling mania.
Meanwhile, readers signaled a similar rebranding of household bill payment offices.
Even more problematic, according to them, is the opportunity created at the same counter in a similar office for a person to simultaneously receive a transfer from a company for quick loans and immediately after that to bet the amount in online games of chance.
When asked if this practice is legal, the MoF recalled that the only limitation in the law is that the gambling operator can only work through a bank account. However, making the transfers to the bank account in question by the participants and receiving the paid winnings (up to BGN 5,000) is at the discretion of the user.
"The making of transfers to the bank account of the organizer is not limited in terms of the way of making the transfer. Each person can only choose the payment method and payment service provider licensed under the Payment Services and Payment Systems Act. Licensed financial institutions have the right to both provide credit and hold a payment service provider license," the Ministry of Finance explained.
On the occasion of the facilitated use of quick loans for gambling bets, as well as the granting of such loans to gambling-addicted citizens, the Ministry of Finance commented that all such problems will be addressed by the amendments prepared by the institution to the Law on Gambling. A working group has already been formed for this purpose.
According to a very initial version of the changes, a strong increase in the requirements for gambling operators is being prepared, probably with the aim of consolidating the sector.
There is an option, for example, for the requirement for paid-in capital to jump from BGN 1.5 million to BGN 10 million, and the amount should be provided from "own funds". Investment requirements are also increasing.
Among the most serious changes is the introduction of a one-time fee of BGN 5 million for a general license for each private gambling operator. Those with a valid license will have 9 months to pay the amount.
The tax on state lotteries and lotteries is eased, equating it to that for online betting – 20% on the difference between the value of the bets received and the winnings paid out.
The state monopoly on lotteries is not repealed. However, a ban is being introduced for sports betting that self-service devices cannot be used.
Casinos will be able to be organized only in hotels with a category of 4 stars and above, in hotels in national resorts, as well as in settlements located no more than 30 km from the border crossing. Some time ago, the measure was proposed by the "patriot" Valery Simeonov, but the idea was to also apply to gaming halls, which are far more than casinos. Then she was met "with a knife" by the industry, which went out in protest, after which she dropped out.
The "bonuses" provided by the gambling operators for participating in the games, through which the payment of taxes and fees was avoided until now, will be placed in future bets and will be taxed.
It is proposed to introduce into law a ban on gambling advertising on the internet, television and radio from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. - a measure that is likely to be strongly opposed. For media offenders, property sanctions of BGN 30,000 to BGN 50,000 or fines of BGN 10,000 to BGN 30,000 are foreseen.
Gambling companies will be obliged to transmit information to the National Revenue Agency about the winnings paid to individuals.
Discussion of the draft changes is still in a relatively early phase.