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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 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

Parimatch releases ranking gambling Cities in Russia and Ukraine

Niji Ng

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Parimatch releases ranking gambling Cities in Russia and Ukraine
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Parimatch, Curacao-based bookmaker popular in Russia, has released a ranking of various regions in the Russian Federation and Ukraine, based on the number of gamblers in each of these regions. The company compiled the list following a detailed study.

Not so surprisingly, Moscow topped the list. The majority of Russians who engage in sports betting live in Moscow. St. Petersburg comes second, followed by the Krasnodar Territory and the Sverdlovsk region.

The ranking for Ukraine does not throw up any surprises either, with Kyiv topping the list. Kharkov comes second, while Lviv bags third.

Dnepr and Odessa are the fourth and the fifth respectively. In these cities, there is approximately the same number of gamblers. Here, number of bets on sports is almost equal.

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Eastern Europe

Casino Technology honoured with 2018 Best General Manager of a Gaming Equipment Company in Romania award

George Miller

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Casino Technology honoured with 2018 Best General Manager of a Gaming Equipment Company in Romania award
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Casino Technology‘s General Manager for Romania Valentina Dobre was honoured with the Best General Manager of a gaming equipment company, operating in the East European country award. The prize category was designed to recognize the exceptional contribution of a professional to the gaming industry in the country and was granted on a special ceremony during Women in Gambling Gala at the 12th edition of Entertainment Arena Expo in Bucharest. Valentina Dobre`s nomination was among the proposed by prominent industry representatives and was chosen after voting of an independent Prize Committee.

“This candidate has established herself as a valuable professional with a proven track record and a high level of achievements in the gaming industry”, the organisers explained.

Valentina Dobre joined Casino Technology’s team in 2017 as a General Manager for Romania, contributing with her profound expertise, professional background and in-depth knowledge of the gaming industry in the country.

Milo Borissov, founder, president and CEO of Casino Technology commented: “We could not be more proud of Mrs Dobre receiving the award. As a well respected leader within the gaming community in Romania, Valentina Dobre is a very important and valuable to Casino Technology, bringing extensive knowledge of the market and making a substantial contribution to the overall company development”.

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Eastern Europe

Abbiati renews Romanian license

Niji Ng

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Abbiati renews Romanian license
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Abbiati Casino Equipment, an Italy-based company that has been offering its service in Romania for a quarter of a century, has renewed its license in the country, in accordance with the existing regulations.

Abbiati has declared that the renewal of license equip it to consolidate and expand its business in the manufacture and supply of high-quality casino equipment and related components.

“We are very glad to have obtained this new licence for Romania as we strongly believe it can reinforce our presence in the market and increment our synergy with local operators,” said Giorgio Abbiati, CEO of Abbiati Casino Equipment.

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