Bulgaria Eases Gambling Tax

December 5, 2013 Taxation in Bulgaria

SOFIA – Bulgaria is slashing the tax obligations of gambling operators by up to two thirds in the hopes of wiping out illegitimate operators and encouraging the formation of more genuine providers.

On December 4th the members of the Parliament of Bulgaria voted on and approved several amendments to the national Gambling Act, in an effort to make the country a more attractive destination for obtaining a gambling operating license, while also tightening compliance in the industry, and raising the amount of tax revenues gathered from providers.

Currently businesses offering any form gambling products are obliged to pay a 15 percent tax on the revenues earned, however, under the amended rules, operators will be required to pay a one-off licensing fee of BGN 100 000 and a 20 percent tax on the difference between the value of all pay-outs and the value of all bets made.

In real terms, the altered tax structure may reduce a provider’s tax obligation by as much as two thirds.

As the process of obtaining a gambling license in Bulgaria may take more than 6 months, it is expected that the relaxed rules will have minimal impact on the number of operators in the country, resulting in a BGN 22 million drop in tax revenues, or in no overall changes, but over the course of 2015 and 2015 tax revenues should increase by BGN 50 million and BGN 100 million respectively as more gambling businesses are established.

The amended rules will also place harsher penalties on businesses offering gambling products without a license, and will also tighten up the regulations regarding record keeping, due diligence, and anti-money laundering, which, cumulatively, should encourage unlicensed and uncompliant operators to legitimize their endeavors.

Photo by: Håkan Dahlström