Gambling is a generally widespread kind of entertainment for a lot of Bulgarians. To be precise – a recent report of the National Revenue Agency of the country reveals that over 50% of the male population, along with over 40% of the female population, have engaged in some sort of gambling activity during the last couple of years. These activities include mostly betting in online and ground casinos, sports betting, national lottery tickets, and scratch cards, which had been widely accessible on the market until recently.
So, what are the basic facts on Bulgaria’s history of gambling, what are the gambling habits of Bulgarians, and what kind of infrastructure and providers are the locals currently enjoying? Learn the fundamentals in the following paragraphs.
A brief history of gambling in Bulgaria
The Bulgarian gambling industry’s legal aspects had not been adequately settled for a long time throughout the dynamic state history. Gambling was first prohibited in Bulgaria at the very end of the 19th century due to an unsatisfactory legal framework that couldn’t treat gambling debts properly as they grew at a rapid pace. The only gambling institution that officially remained in function back then was the State cash and goods lottery.
Nevertheless, gambling continued to subsist until the middle of the 20th century, mainly in the big cities – it included playing cards, backgammon, barbooth, etc. In some restaurants, there were also slot machines. 1957 marked the beginning of the Sports Toto, while the lottery, gambling casinos, gambling halls gradually developed during the ’70s. Anyway, this industry hardly faced any regulations until the very end of the 20th century.
Technically speaking, betting was not thoroughly legal in Bulgaria until 1993 – then came the first regulatory document on gambling, soon after the country began its gradual democratization. The first out-and-out Gaming Law of Bulgaria was introduced five years later, in 1998. Online gambling was officially legalized in Bulgaria in 2008, and the complete regulations on the subject were established four years later – in 2012.
Almost a decade later, the Bulgarian gambling environment, both online and offline, still has its shortcomings, generated mainly by unsettled past relations between the gaming and the unlawful sector. Yet, today we can say that betting in Bulgaria feels just like betting at any other point around the world for the regular player.
The Bulgarian gambling niche nowadays – facts and stats
If you happen to be a beginner or a newcomer, you will need a brief introduction to how the Bulgarian gambling environment looks like in facts and stats, so here they are:
- The legal age for gambling activities in Bulgaria is fixed to be 18 years old;
- Bulgarian gambling operators face state licensing and strict regulation under the Gaming Act to ensure transparency and fair gaming;
- The gambling industry forms about 3 to 4 percent of the gross domestic product of the country in the last couple of years;
- A total of about 6,000 casino slots are estimated to be accessible for players on the territory of Bulgaria.
- Bulgarian online casinos offer an extensive range of top-rated slot and card games and flexible payment options, including e-wallet payments through Skrill, Neteller, ecoPayz, and more.
Players are granted a safe online gambling environment, as long as they make sure to verify that the state authorities license the chosen provider.
Top licensed casino providers in Bulgaria
Bulgarian casino providers are facing rather harsh taxing policies and generally challenging conditions. And yet – players can still enjoy a diversity of trusted casino providers – both online and at ground casinos.
Ground casinos can be found in virtually every middle-sized and big city around the country, including mountain and seaside resorts. Some bigger casino chains include Casino Club Eldorado, Palms Casino, Casino Millenium, Princess Casino, and many more.
As far as online gambling and sports betting is concerned, the most widely recognized Bulgarian and international providers with an excellent reputation among players include Efbet, Winbet, Palms Bet, Bet365, PokerStars, Bwin, and Toto.bg. There, you will find a variety of sports to bet on, as well as a vast selection of online casino games such as slots, roulette, poker, keno, blackjack, bingo, baccarat, and more.
To sum it up
The Bulgarian gambling niche was regulated and set in order very recently, compared to other European countries. Still, the local providers have managed to adapt quickly and provide an excellent set of options for their regional and international customers.
Bulgarians and foreigners are welcome to enjoy hundreds of games in various languages, complemented by tens of deposit and payment options. As an EU member state, Bulgaria adopts all good practices in conventional and online gambling, so players can safely enjoy themselves and make legitimate winnings at the end of the day.