Regulatory changes may lead to more sports totalizator venues

Regulatory changes may lead to more sports totalizator venues

The lottery in Bulgaria is held by the Bulgarian Sports Totalizator, which emphasizes the importance of potential regulatory changes, as they are more often than not politically motivated.

There are some regulatory changes that are expected to go into effect in August. BST is Bulgaria’s state-owned “Toto” provider, and also provides more sports games, both online as well as in situ. All BST games would have to be provided within its own network under the change. Approximately 1,500 gaming operation sites would be cut down to around 600, which in turn would have a negative effect on revenue.

In its latest bill proposition, the ITN political party made a counter proposal. New gaming points of sales should be opened up to a maximum of 3,000 throughout the country, according to Lyubomir Karimanski. Random event betting and games requiring fact knowledge are two types of wagers described in the bill.

The bill states that bingo, casino or slot machine games should be considered different from other forms of gambling. The new gambling venues have to be clearly marked as gambling venues. It is proposed that all the new venues be established on premises owned or rented by BST and should offer self-service devices. The proposed changes don’t pose any additional administrative burden or expenses to BST, making it an easier sell come voting time, according to the party’s forecasts.

Deyan Petkov made a proposal to increase the number of gaming venues for the government-owned BST, asking for one venue per 1,725 people. 1,725 people are allowed to gamble, but it is not clear if that is the intended characterization.

Since the political climate in Bulgaria is not stable, almost all parties are in a rush to propose as many bills as possible. There won’t be enough time to look at all of them, let alone vote them through, so it’s still unclear what the practical ramifications for Bulgaria’s BST could be.

All income from gaming activity is used to cover operational expenses and further fund physical education, local sports and culture events, as well as the creation and maintenance of sports facilities throughout public and municipal schools.

Alexander Todorov was appointed as the director of BST by the man who was the minister of sports up until recently, Radostin Vasilev. The person at the highest position is intricately linked to the state of the governmental bodies and their actions. As public perception changes when results are visible, this might prove beneficial for the parties, backing the directors of BST throughout the years.

A bill amending the 2012 Gambling Act was passed into law on February 7, making all previously private operators obsolete, and in 2020 BST was given a total lottery monopoly. The directors of the state-owned company have historically been very politically exposed, and this further propelled a movement to try and regulate the company more tightly.

Summary:

Bulgarian Sports Totalizator (BST) is Bulgaria’s state-owned “Toto” (Lotto-equivalent) provider, and additionally provides more sports games, both online and in situ. The change concerns BST’s venues and would require that all BST games be provided only within its own network. This would see the approximately 1,500 gaming operation sites cut down to around 600, which in turn would most probably negatively affect revenue.