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Bulgarian Bill Proposes Closure of Most Casinos

Niji Narayan

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Bulgarian Bill Proposes Closure of Most Casinos
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A political leader has presented a bill to the Bulgarian parliament which proposes the closure of most of the country’s casinos and gambling halls by the end of 2025.

Put forward by Valeri Simeonov, leader of the National Front for Salvation of Bulgaria (NFSB), the bill proposes that casinos and gambling halls be allowed only at five-star hotels and at ten resorts located within 20km of the border.

Simeonov’s objective is for casino gambling to be aimed only at foreign tourists rather than Bulgarians. The move would mean closing around 75% of the country’s land-based casinos and gambling halls.

Casino games would be offered by the state only, and all visitors to casinos and gambling halls would be checked against the register of gambling addicts.

He appeared to recognise that the bill could be detrimental to his party’s standing and would attract fierce criticism, but said it was necessary to fight against gambling addiction.

Simeonov reportedly said of gambling: “It’s a pandemic, like the Coronavirus. There are cases of suicide, mortgaging the home, loss of everything. This must end.”

The Bulgarian Gaming Association BTAGI said if the bill was approved it would close 638 casinos, risking 30,000 jobs, while pushing players to the unregulated market and leading to a major loss of tax revenue for the state.

BTAGI said in a statement: “The project submitted by MP Valeri Simeonov (…) creates conditions for an uncontrollable increase in illegal gambling.

“Global practice shows that the restriction of regulatory opportunities for the development of the gaming industry creates a favourable ground for the development of illegal gambling, which cannot be effectively controlled.

“In this situation, the consumer will not be able to be protected and all regulations to combat gambling addiction will be completely inapplicable. Once the business enters the criminogenic contingent, conditions are created for corruption to flourish.

“The closure of gambling halls and casinos that do not meet the restrictive requirements to be in 5-star hotels and in resort and border locations raises doubts about lobbying interests.

“With the proposed regime, the work of a legal, well-organised and operating on the principle of free economic initiative sector will be blocked, providing an opportunity to redirect and limit to a certain circle of persons: owners of luxury hotels.”

Balkans

Habanero continues rapid growth with SuperSport

George Miller

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Habanero continues rapid growth with SuperSport
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Studio launches with Croatian market leader 

Premium slots and table games provider Habanero is now live with SuperSport, Croatia’s leading operator.

SuperSport’s players can now enjoy all 64 of Habanero’s Croatia-certified games, including Lucky Lucky, Wild Trucks and Hot Hot Fruit, especially popular in a jurisdiction where classic fruit-themed games have established themselves as strong performers.   

The deal further strengthens the supplier’s commercial presence in the territory, following a partnership signed last year with PSK, a prominent online casino run by the renowned regional operator Fortuna Entertainment Group.

Commenting on the deal, Arcangelo Lonoce, European Head of Business Development at Habanero, said: “Croatia is undoubtedly among the most exciting markets in Europe, so we are thrilled to go live with its best-known operator in SuperSport.

“The popular sportsbook has earned a deserved reputation for excellence, so our innovative catalogue of slots and table games fits perfectly with its unique offering.”

Tugomil Cerovečki, Online Casino Manager at SuperSport, “Habanero is becoming one of the most respected suppliers in our industry, boasting a consistently strong track-record with players from across the globe.

“We are delighted to have the provider on board and look forward to cultivating a long and productive commercial relationship.”

 

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Balkans

Playson to launch slots portfolio with Sesame’s new online casino

George Miller

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Playson to launch slots portfolio with Sesame’s new online casino
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Casino software provider Playson has agreed a deal with Bulgarian gaming group Sesame to supply the company’s new online casino with its content.

With a 20-strong retail estate in locations across the country, the operator is strengthening its position in Bulgaria by launching a new online offering, with Playson’s range of games set to feature prominently.

An assortment of Playson’s hit games will go live with Sesame, including Pearl Beauty: Hold and Win, Solar Temple, Solar Queen, its Funky Fruits portfolio and Timeless Fruit Slots.

The operator’s offering will also be boosted by the addition of Playson’s integration-free engagement tools, which have been demonstrated to significantly increase player retention.

Blanka Homor, Sales Director at Playson, said: “Sesame is a well-respected operator in Bulgaria with highly promising commercial prospects, so we are delighted to have signed this agreement to launch our games with its new online casino.

“With an immersive range of in-game mechanics, inviting themes and engagement tools, our portfolio will undoubtedly be a hit with its players.”

Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Sesame Online said: “Playson is earning a deserved reputation as one of the most dynamic slot providers on today’s market, so we are delighted to partner with the exciting games studio.

“The addition of engaging content such as Playson’s will help us attract new customers by offering fresh and exciting gaming experiences to an ever-expanding fanbase.”

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Balkans

Bulgarian Legislature Approves the Bill to Abolish Gambling Commission

Niji Narayan

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Bulgarian Legislature Approves the Bill to Abolish Gambling Commission
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The Bulgarian legislature has approved the second reading of a bill that aims to abolish Bulgaria’s existing gambling regulator and hand its duties to the National Revenue Agency, as well as to introduce new capital requirements for licensees.

Bill 054-01-51 to Amend and Supplement the Gambling Act was introduced in June and approved by the Committee on Budgets and Finance, the Committee on Culture and the Media, the Committee on Children, Youth and Sport and the Committee on Budgets and Finance before being adopted on its first reading on 17 June.

Initially, the bill planned on creating a new regulator, the State Gambling Agency, which would be a new specialised body within the country’s Council of Ministers. However, it was amended by various members of the party GERB to instead allow the National Revenue Agency to take over this role.

It was then approved at its second reading on July 23, sending it to President Rumen Radev.

“The changes are aimed at clarifying the status of the gambling regulator and ensuring transparency in its work, which, in turn, will lead to optimisation and increase the quality of its activities,” one of the bill’s sponsors, Alexander Ivanov, said in a committee hearing.

The bill also sets out new capital requirements for licensees after an amendment put forward by Valeri Simeonov. This includes a BGN1m capital requirement for slot licensees, a BGN1.5m requirement for casino licensees and a BGN3m requirement for those offering online gambling.

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