The Bulgarian gaming industry is expected to generate BGN 200 million (£88 million/€102.3 million/$111.7 million) for the state budget in 2024.

The estimate was made by the country’s Ministry of Finance. Bulgaria expects “very serious capital investments” to achieve its goal.

This was announced by the Bulgarian State Gazette, with Finance Minister Asen Vasilev outlining all investment expenditure.

Tax changes to support the Bulgarian budget

Since gambling has brought more than BGN 300 million in taxes and fees to the state budget in the last two years, changes to Bulgaria’s tax structure could help increase its financial contribution even further.

However, the fee for acquiring a license has increased significantly, namely by 300% compared to before. Income tax has also increased from 15% to 20%.

These increases have sparked controversy with the Gambling Industry Association in Bulgaria (AGIB), which “categorically” rejected the increases as far too disproportionate.

Vasilev, meanwhile, disagreed, saying the tax program would still enable fairly strong growth in the gaming industry.

Regulation in Bulgaria tightened in 2023

Bulgaria tightened its gambling controls in 2023 with the country’s National Revenue Agency (NRA) setting up a new anti-money laundering unit.

This came after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) threatened to increase its monitoring of Bulgarian gambling.

The AML department introduced requirements such as customer verification, document collection and preparation of risk assessments for money laundering and terrorist financing.

The launch follows a 2020 money laundering risk assessment that found deficiencies across a number of sectors.

The AML department is located within the NRA. This is the department that took control of gambling regulation in 2020 after Bulgaria dissolved the State Gambling Commission.