Lots of countries have reputations regarding gambling. The UK, for example, is a base for several of the biggest betting companies in the world, while the US appears to be begging to understand the benefits of the activity. Countries such as Japan, on the other hand, are combining traditional wagering services with more modern ones thanks to the rise of the online casinos, or オンラインカジノ in Japanese.

Historically, Bulgaria is a nation that has barely been mentioned. However, recent figures report 90% of the population has gambled in some form in the last decade. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the activity’s history within the region.

Banned in the 19th Century

Bulgaria’s relationship with gambling got off to a rocky start, much like in most countries around the world. At the end of the 19th century, betting was made illegal and the law remained in place until the late 20th century. But this didn’t prevent the country from making up for the lost time when the first land-based casino was sanctioned in 1979. As a result of this trailblazer, there are now several major establishments open across the region that serve the residents. Some of these are small and only have three tables and a handful of slots to ensure rural areas don’t miss out on the fun.

Locals Couldn’t Play at First

Another feature of the first casino in Bulgaria was that it was only open to tourists. Residents and citizens of Bulgaria weren’t allowed to enter or spend their money in the building. This led to a domino effect of tourism that came from a specific number of nearby destinations. For instance, Russia, Greece, Romania, Turkey, and Germany make up around 50% of the country’s tourism profile. So, even though gambling wasn’t helpful to Bulgarians in terms of enjoyment, it did mean that more money was being pumped into the economy. That’s because the legalization of wagering appealed to its neighbors, encouraging their citizens to head to Bulgaria on holiday.

The Floodgates Open in 1998

The turn of the millennium was when gambling law in Bulgaria was fully adopted. Operated by the State Gambling Commission, the decision was made to regulate the industry and make sure the positives outweighed the negatives. The result led to an influx of new establishments opening up to customers of all kinds, including Bulgarians. Currently, there are at least 20 casinos across the nation, as well as 800 gaming salons and 30 bingo premises. Overall, that means there are 850 gambling organizations for Bulgarians to enjoy if they are so inclined. Those who are, such as Vasil Bozhkov, have been successful enough to run for parliament, which highlights the change in peoples’ perceptions of gambling in Bulgaria.

Online Casinos Take Over

Considering the impact of online casinos in other countries, it’s not shocking to learn that Bulgaria has gone the same way as its European neighbors. Internet wagering was legalized in 2012 and underwent a few alterations. The main one was the tweak in the tax. Originally, online casinos had to pay 15% on turnover, whereas now it’s 20% on profits. This makes opening a digital establishment very lucrative, which is why several are popping up throughout the country. That’s without mentioning offshore websites, too.