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Scratchcard lottery mania grips Bulgaria

George Miller

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Scratchcard lottery mania grips Bulgaria
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Armed with a coin, 96-year-old Stoyan Stoimenov from the small village of Tsurkva outside Sofia hunches over and tries his luck on yet another scratchcard.

I tell myself: ‘I will win again.’ It’s not very likely but who knows,” he says, winking.

Stoimenov is just one of thousands of Bulgarians who have been gripped by a craze for scratchcards in recent years in the EU’s poorest member state, with some now raising the alarm over the dangers of widespread addiction.

In February, Stoimenov won 5,000 leva (2,500 euros, $3,000) — roughly 25 times his monthly pension — and distributed his prize among his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

They thanked him by giving him more scratchcards for his 96th birthday on May 6.

In the small cafe where Stoimenov won his prize, the tables are full of fellow gamblers.

“I sell more scratchcards than anything else,” the girl at the counter says.

Critics say that the law has not kept pace with the explosion of scratchcard gambling, with even children allowed to participate with no age restriction.

“I play from time to time but there’s a boy in my class who does nothing but buy scratchcards,” says 10-year-old Denislav, while buying a two-leva ticket with his daily lunch money.

According to an expert study, commissioned by a government body in July 2016 in Bulgaria’s northwest — the EU’s poorest region — 10 percent of high school students buy scratchcards every day and 11 percent buy them once a week.

– Alarm over ‘epidemic’ –

According to an estimate by Bulgaria’s Capital financial weekly, 100 million scratchcards were sold in 2017 in a country of less than seven million people.

And a Gallup poll carried out in April estimated that 57 percent of Bulgarians participate in some form of gambling. The country is thought by experts to have the second biggest gambling industry in the EU behind Malta.

Adding to the lucrative nature of the business is the fact that the industry enjoys lower tax rates than, for example, tobacco concerns, and Bulgaria is the only EU country where the law doesn’t require lottery companies to donate a certain portion of their profits to good causes.

Some politicians are now pushing for action to curb the phenomenon.

Tsvetan Tsvetanov, deputy chief of the ruling GERB party, warns of “an epidemic among adolescents and people of low social status”.

The gaps in current legislation are illustrated by the rules for gambling advertising.
TV ads for lotteries and scratchcards are technically banned but broadcasters are allowed to show interviews with winners, who enthuse about their prizes of up to 200,000 leva and talk about how they buy a ticket every day with their morning coffee.

The proliferation of scratchcards in cafes, grocery shops and newspaper stands has led Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov to claim that “churches are the only place where you can’t find them”.

Earlier this year, Simeonov proposed changes to gambling laws which are now awaiting parliamentary approval.
They would bring in a ban on announcing lottery draws, prizes or winners on television, as well as banning the sale of scratchcards to minors, and restricting sales to special kiosks.

– ‘Assassination of sport’ –

But the push to toughen up gambling laws has run into some powerful opponents.

The KRIB, Bulgaria’s employers’ federation, has proposed a watered-down version of the changes that would only oblige TV channels to run warnings about the risk of addiction.

KRIB has said it fears Simeonov’s changes would have “grave consequences” for the media and for sports clubs, as well as the 177,000 people employed in the gambling industry.
According to data from Nielsen Admosphere, gambling companies were the biggest advertisers on Bulgarian television in 2017.

The Bulgarian Football Union has also expressed its staunch opposition, reflecting the fact that clubs get much of their sponsorship money from online betting platforms.

Bulgarian football star Hristo Stoichkov — who has himself appeared in ads for online gambling platforms — has been a vocal defender of the industry, going so far as to claim that plans to curb it would mean “the assassination of sport”.

Source: AFP

George Miller (Gyorgy Molnar) started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Eastern Europe

Potential New Casino In The Center Of Gdansk

George Miller

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Potential New Casino In The Center Of Gdansk
Reading Time: 1 minute

There is a new intention of creating a new casino in Gdansk in the newely opened IBB Hotel in Dlugi Targ. The one and only issue is that there are already two casinos in the city and the current gambling legislation does not allow another one.

The Warsaw-based company Casino, which manages, among others: a casino in Sopot, wants to open another one in Gdańsk. The company applied for permission to rebuild the premises for a casino and a club with a small gastronomy. Where? In the basement and ground floor of the IBB Hotel in Długi Targ, which opened in April.

We have accepted the casino offer, but now it has to deal with a number of procedures, including getting permission from the Ministry of Finance and the City Council of Gdansk” – said Adam Trybusz, the owner of the object.

The Gambling Act of Poland states that in towns with up to 250,000 residents only one casino can be created, and for each subsequent started 250 thousand inhabitants, their number is increased by one. The number of casinos in the region can not be higher than one casino for each full 650,000 inhabitants.

 

Source: e-playonline

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Compliance Updates

Poland to enforce stricter regulations over online gambling

Niji Ng

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Poland to enforce stricter regulations over online gambling
Reading Time: 1 minute

The Polish government is demanding more info from internet service providers (ISPs) about its citizens’ attempts to access illegal websites.

The government wants to make the restrictions stricter for unauthorised online gambling sites and will require local internet service providers (ISPs) to inform it about citizens’ attempts to access them. According to the Panoptykon Foundation, a digital rights watchdog, the government will compile a central registry of unauthorized websites that “used to offer goods and services contrary to the law.”

According to the digital rights body, the government seeks to authorise a “chief sanitary inspector” that would compel data from ISPs that will disclose which citizens tried to access unauthorised websites. In addition, companies would have to turn over the information “without the knowledge and consent of the person it concerns.”

Local organisations are worried that the censorship’s expansion could turn out to be the first of many steps in an online limitation escalation. Nonetheless, several countries enforce similar restrictions on online activities and are hardly ever questioned, like the Canadian province of Quebec or some experiences in the UK as well.

 

Source: focusgn.com

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Eastern Europe

World Cup bets in Poland

George Miller

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World Cup bets in Poland
Photo Credits: Nike
Reading Time: 1 minute

Poland‘s biggest win on a World Cup bet was won at Fortuna, worth PLN 102K (around 23K EUR), this was followed by STS with a prize worth PLN 33K (around 7,6K EUR).

Looks like the Polish bookmakers didn’t lack clients during the World Cup this year, statistics suggest that the Poles are very interested in wagering on football matches.

The highest wins in a single coupon at the bets offered so far [before matches for the first and third place] PLN 102K – we learned in the bookmaker company Fortuna. – The highest win from the coupon, which included the match between Poland and Colombia, amounted to over PLN 33K – we heard at the STS company.

Fortuna also indicates a different result worth attention. – One of the customers correctly predicted the exact results of the matches Colombia-Japan, Poland-Senegal and Russia-Egypt. He took PLN 25,000 from a bet worth PLN 5, – the bookmaker informed.

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