Sofia, Bulgaria. On 15 March the Bulgarian Parliament finally adopted the long expected Law on Gambling. The most important part of the final version is the regulation of online gaming in Bulgaria and increased requirements for investment and control of gaming operators and manufacturers.
The new gaming law is a step forward in modernizing the regulatory framework, which allows new technologies to be applied to gaming market in Bulgaria and furthermore will allow operators to offer more advanced and more innovative products to their customers. The legalization of remote gaming is an important change, which ranks Bulgaria among the countries regulating this activity and ensuring the quality of services to their customers.
The new gaming law will have an affect on both the operators and manufacturers of gaming equipment, says Bulgarian Gaming Association (BTAMOGI). The high requirements for the operators who have to prove the investment and to increase the minimum number of gaming equipment will lead to the closure of number of gaming halls, which cannot meet these requirements. Meanwhile other operators will purchase new equipment in order to meet the requirements and this will make the market more dynamic during the next 18 months.
The new gaming law also foresees increased requirements for the manufacturers. Such requirement is to prove the initial investments and recourses for the licensing. The process of development, implementation and manufacturing of products for the gaming industry is complicated and very responsible one, which requires insurability and security of the gaming equipment. This can be achieved only by investing in major developments and testing in independent laboratories. In addition to the above mentioned requirements for the manufacturers an increased control of the gaming equipment distribution is foreseen by the law.
At this moment the market environment in Bulgaria sets such challenges for the operators, which stagnate market. This is dictated not only by fact that there are less recourses spent by the consumers, but also that the state and tax policy are rather restrictive to the business. Dramatically increase with over 70 % of the tax rates for gambling was voted two years ago, which led to the bending of the sector with over 40 %. The new Gaming Law sets new requirements for the investments, increased minimum of the gaming seats, etc., which will surely lead to further displacement in the industry.
The legal operation of the online games and betting will also change the product supply on the market, where the players will have various options to choose from. These factors will definitely change the market, where operators will have to learn how to work in this new environment. What will be the effect depends on the right balance of the remaining regulations concerning gaming and bylaw requirements that are still to be announced.
The Bulgarian Trade Association of Manufacturers and Operators in the Gaming Industry /BTAMOGI/ was established in 1992 as an independent, voluntary non-profit organization that comprises individuals and companies producing gaming equipment and/or operating gambling facilities and related activities. BTAMOGI’s membership includes individuals who have experience in managing gaming halls and casinos for over 15 years.
The Association has set a broad range of goals, related to raising the profile and prestige of the gaming industry, protecting the interests of its members and protecting the public interest. Some of the main activities of the Association include: working towards the implementation of unified standards in the gaming industry and their harmonization with international standards; providing assistance with improving the legal framework in Bulgaria and abroad, regulating public relations related to the gaming industry;
In 2006 BTAMOGI became a member of EUROMAT (The European Gaming and Amusement Federation) – the most prestigious forum of the entertainment business in Europe. The Association actively supports the efforts of EUROMAT to monitore European regulations in the legal, commercial and technical aspects of the business to ensure their development in line with the leading trends. The Association is also member of the European Association for the Study of Gambling, the Association of American gaming equipment manufacturers and others.
BTAMOGI is the organizer of two annual international events that are being held in Sofia – Balkan Entertainment and Gaming Expo (BEGE) and Eastern European Gaming Summit (EEGS) as well is the an initiator of the magazine for the gaming and entertainment industry on the Balkans and Eastern Europe – Game Spectrum, which from the beginning of 2010 is accessible online .