Budget revenue from gambling games grew by a quarter for the first nine months of the year. This was stated by the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bulgarian Association of Producers and Organizers of the Gaming Industry (BTAPOII) Angel Iribozov at the opening of the tenth anniversary edition of the Balkan Exhibition of the Entertainment and Gaming Industry.
In the first nine months of 2017 only BGN 144 million were paid. For the entire 2016, the increase on an annual basis was 30 per cent or a total of 177 million leva was paid.
At the end of September, state revenue from fees for maintaining a license to organize gambling games – traditional lottery, lottery, instant lottery, lotto, lotto, bingo and their varieties, sports betting games and horse-racing and dog racing, casino and betting related betting games, with the exception of online betting, amounted to 96 million leva.
Nearly 20% of this amount is from fees paid by online operators. By comparison, by the end of September 2016, the share of fees from online operators was 11%, which clearly shows that there is growth in online gambling. The increase in tax revenues is also due to the introduction of the two-component online gambling fee.
We remind you that key changes to the Gambling Act were adopted at the end of 2013. One of their main goals was the big online operators who operate in Bulgaria via external sites but pay taxes in the country where they are licensed to start paying the levies in Bulgaria. Previously, the tax burden for online casinos and traditional casino games was not differentiated. In the previous mode, both bets were taxed at 15% on the value of the bets placed on each game. For gambling games for which fees and commissions are collected – a tax of 20% on the value of the fees and commissions received.
Now the fees depend on whether the gambling game is virtual or playing in a real gaming room.
For online bets, the levy is divided into two components. One is the amount of BGN 100,000, which is paid once upon obtaining a license for a gambling organizer. The second is the monthly fee of 20% on the net income – the difference between the bets made and the profits paid. These fees are collected by the State Gambling Agency.
For traditional gambling organizers, taxation differs. They are required every three months to pay taxes based on the number of gaming equipment in the gaming room. For a slot machine, for example, the fee is 500 leva, for a roulette or a table for playing cards the levy is BGN 22,000. Taxes of this type of gambling are paid to the National Revenue Agency.
In addition to taxes, companies in the industry also make annual contributions under Article 10a of the Gambling Act – for socially responsible behaviour in the gaming industry. In 2016, an amount of BGN 2.2 million was collected under this item, and only for the first nine months of 2017 – BGN 2.4 million.
According to the association, there is a slight increase in the number of licensed gaming sites. At the end of September 2017, there were 26 casinos and 847 gambling halls. There is also a growth of installed gaming equipment. Data show that they are 10% more on an annual basis.
It turns out that in Bulgaria the number of gaming machines is relatively small compared to other EU countries. In Italy, there is an automaton for 151 people; in Portugal, there is a slogan of 200 people, and in Germany one per 390 people. The ratio of gaming machine to number of people is about 1 to 360 in our country.
Registered online organizers remain unchanged, licensed online sites increase by one, and by September 30, 2017, there are 11 organizers and 12 sites, reported by BTAPOI.
There are only one bingo room in our country, but in 18 gaming halls there are installed electronic bingo facilities with a total of 730 gaming places. This, according to the organization, shows that the market for electronic bingo equipment is constant.
The industry emphasizes that the role of gaming tourism is growing and they believe it is appropriate to have a comprehensive state strategy to include gambling services in the entertainment complex offered in tourist packages.
Another trend in the gaming industry is the rapidly advancing role of technology. Since 2016, UK regulator has allowed crypt online payments in online gambling. Increasingly, in the gaming industry, virtual reality enters, and the role of social networks is growing, allowing for a new type of betting – “social gaming”.