The Bulgarian gambling industry is projected to contribute BGN200m (£88m/€102.3m/$111.7m) to the country’s budget in 2024, according to the Ministry of Finance. Minister Asen Vassilev disclosed that significant capital investments are expected to help achieve this target.
The announcement was made in Bulgaria’s State Gazette, where Vassilev detailed all capital expenditures. With the gambling sector already providing over BGN300m in taxes and fees to the state budget in the last two years, changes to the country’s tax structure could further enhance its financial contribution.
However, the fee for obtaining a license has seen a substantial increase of 300%, while the tax on income has also risen from 15% to 20%. These hikes have sparked controversy, with the Association of the Gaming Industry in Bulgaria (AGIB) strongly opposing the disproportionate increases. Vassilev, on the other hand, defended the fiscal program, stating that it would still allow for significant growth in the gambling industry.
In 2023, Bulgaria implemented stricter gambling controls, with the National Revenue Agency (NRA) establishing a new anti-money laundering (AML) unit. This move came after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) warned of enhanced monitoring of Bulgarian gambling due to potential money laundering concerns.
The AML unit introduced requirements such as customer verification, document collection, and the creation of risk assessments for money laundering and terrorist financing. Its launch follows a 2020 money laundering risk assessment that identified deficiencies in various sectors. The AML unit operates within the NRA, which took over gambling regulation in 2020 after Bulgaria disbanded the State Commission on Gambling.