For the first time this year, organizers of lotteries and games of chance in Bulgaria were obliged to provide the National Revenue Agency with information about sums paid by them to individuals, when the value of the winning is over 2500 euros.
Referring to official information from the agency, Mediapool commented that gambling industry in Bulgaria has been making a huge turnover and the total sum of winnings over EUR 2,500 paid to people reached 314 million euros, distributed among a total of 13,447 Bulgarians. Since organizers of games of chance are legally obliged to pay in the form of profits at least 50% of the sum of bets, it can be concluded that in the sphere of lottery games turnover reaches more than 500 million euros. Throughout 2017, 49 people became millionaires thanks to games of chance, winning over 1 million levs /500 thousand euros/ or up each. The biggest lucky winner grabbed 5 018 498 euro, but it is not clear what kind of game brought such a profit. Second comes a player who won 4.04 million euros, and third is a man with a profit of 2.91 million euros. Those who won sums ranging between 250 thousand euros and 500,000 euros are 80, while winners of sums ranging between 2,500 euros and 50,000 euros were 12,395. The biggest companies in the field of games of chance and lottery games are state-owned Bulgarian Sports Totalizator and private companies like Eurobet, National Lottery and New Gaming associated with businessman Vasil Bozhkov. The "National Lottery" registered 38 millionaires in 2017, while the sports totalizator made 4 people millionaires. From data provided, it may indirectly be concluded that New Gaming and Eurobet did not produce millionaires in 2017. The National Lottery was also the biggest advertiser on the Bulgarian TV market in 2017 and according to data of 24 Hours Daily just its contract with Nova TV totals between 12.5 and 15 million euros annually.
"Mediapool" recalls that in the spring of 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Valeriy Simeonov initiated legal changes aimed at limiting advertising and sale of lottery tickets because of the lottery fever that had gripped the country.
Desperately seeking for money, thousands of poor Bulgarians give their last coins for games of chance, while in some villages there are also cases of young people who have become all-day gamblers. Minister Simeonov's efforts, however, have met some serious resistance from the gambling lobby in the face of the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Football Union and many sports clubs that receive sponsorship from gambling bosses. As a result, discussions on the deputy prime minister's draft bill were frozen for a few months as MEPs decided to send the draft to the European Commission first for a review. Meanwhile, Italian counterpart of Minister Simeonov - Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Five Star Movement, Luigi Di Maio, has managed to push a comprehensive ban not only on gambling advertising in Italy, but also on the sponsorship of sports clubs by gambling companies, Mediapool pointed out.
English: Alexander Markov