Bulgaria – unlike many of its Eastern European counterparts – is a country which has fully legalised online gambling. Moreover, the Bulgarian gambling laws effectively provide regulation for the online casinos and betting sites which are legal in the country. Provided an operator adheres to Article 2 of the Bulgarian gambling laws it is legal to play there. What types of games do Bulgarians play, what makes a top Bulgarian online casino, and where can you play online? In this article, we will look at what the European nation has to offer its players regarding online gambling opportunities.
An Overview of Gambling in Bulgaria
Firstly, you should know that online gambling is legal in Bulgaria. Bulgaria adjusted its gambling laws back in 2018, to ensure that virtually all forms of gambling are legal and regulated in the country. This does not mean that you can simply play at any site you see fit, though. There are rules, and these are neither difficult to understand or follow. Here is what you need to know…
Bulgaria’s gambling laws are defined in the Gaming Act (Zakon za Hazarta). The second article of this law stipulates that all forms of gambling are legal, provided they adhere to the provisions as laid down by Bulgaria’s gambling legislation. The legislation used to regulate casinos and other forms of gambling (including land-based betting) is governed by the State Commission on Gambling. This entity was formed by the Ministry of Finance of Bulgaria.
The gambling authority has the power to issue gambling licenses to operators who wish to cater to players in the Eastern European nation. There are, as you might imagine, many casinos which have snapped up a license to offer their services to Bulgarian players. Initially, the taxes on revenue made from gambling was quite high in the country, and this saw many international operators turn away from the market. The Bulgarian Government has since rectified this, and the lower taxes have made many international operators eager to set up shop in the country.
As well as online casino sites, Bulgaria also permits players to play at poker rooms, although there are none currently in operation in the country. Lottery websites are accessible, but these tend to be run by a monopoly, the state-licensed Bulgarian Sports Totalizator. The same organisation also has jurisdiction when it comes to online bingo, as these games are deemed lotteries. Sports betting is also legal in Bulgaria under the Gaming Act.
Bulgaria does take steps to block foreign sportsbooks and casinos which have not acquired a gambling license from the authorities. However, their blocks are hardly sufficient, and most Bulgarians can get around them with a half-decent VPN (virtual private network). Moreover, there is no law in the country which sees Bulgarians prosecuted for visiting such sites.
Bulgaria’s Most Played Casino Games
Bulgaria has legalised virtually all forms of gambling, and they have regulated those games, to boot. This means that players in the country have a large selection of different types of games that they can play. Here are just a few of the popular ones that Bulgarians like to try their hand at:
Slots: Slots are amongst the most popular games at Bulgarian online casinos. You can expect to find a wealth of these titles, including games from the most renowned providers in the online casino world. Classic slots, video slots, 3D slots, mobile slots and progressive jackpot games are not out of place or in short supply at Bulgarian online casinos.
Table Games: RNG (random number generator) table games are also legal in Bulgaria. You will typically find baccarat, blackjack, roulette, table poker games, as well as craps, sic bo and a few oddities in a typical Bulgarian online casino site.
Live Dealer Casino Games: These are not as common at Bulgarian online casinos as RNG table games, but they can still be found. In most cases, these games only consist of baccarat, blackjack and roulette and can often only be played in English.
Poker Games: While there are no poker rooms in Bulgaria, playing poker games is certainly legal. Many of the country’s top internet betting sites carry poker games in both RNG and live dealer format. Just do not expect as broad a variety of games as you would typically expect to see at Western European domains.
Lottery and Bingo: Lottery and bingo games are considered the same in Bulgaria. Both can appear as online casinos. However, these games more commonly show up at the sites run by the state-sponsored monopoly. Instant win games such as scratch cards can often be found alongside bingo and lottery games at these sites.
Sports Betting: Sports betting is big business in Bulgaria. Online sportsbooks may or may not offer other games, such as casino games, but they are typically carrying extensive betting markets for Bulgarians to engage in. These domains will typically feature an ample supply of football bets, and other leading sports betting options, many of which are accessible via mobile phones and tablet devices.
Taxes on Big Wins at Bulgarian Casinos
As mentioned earlier, when Bulgaria first started to look at legalising online casino gaming, it slapped a hefty tax down on operators based on the revenues they made from Bulgarian players. This did not work out so well, and many operators left the market. Since 2012, the authorities have been more cautious about hitting companies with big gambling taxes, leading to an influx of new domains for Bulgarians to choose from.
To date, the gambling tax required by licensed operators stands at 20% of their total revenue from Bulgarians. This is still quite high for many operators, but less than the tax rate of some of their fellow European nations.
What about taxes on Bulgarian players? You will be delighted to hear that Bulgaria does not tax a player’s winnings, provided they win at a Bulgarian licensed casino. Players who win playing at offshore casinos (remember, they are technically illegal), and who win playing at land-based venues when abroad are expected to declare their winnings when they return to Bulgaria. However, few Bulgarians do, and there does not appear to be any repercussions for not doing so.
The Best Bulgarian Online Casinos to Join Today
We have looked at what the current Bulgarian gambling laws say. We have also looked at the tax rules in Bulgaria and had a peek at the types of games that Bulgarians like to play when betting online. However, what should the best Bulgarian online casinos offer their players? What kinds of features should you expect to look for if you want to play at the best online casinos in Bulgaria? Stick to the list below, and you can virtually assure yourself that you are playing at one of the best sites in the business.
Safety and Security: Of course, when you opt to play at a Bulgarian licensed online casino, you are guaranteeing yourself that you are playing at a legal and licensed domain. If you choose to play at international sites, try to pick ones which feature licenses out of reputable jurisdictions, such as the UK and Malta. Moreover, ensure that those casinos have responsible gaming policies in place.
Fair Bonuses and Promotions: Bulgarian casinos are limited in terms of the bonuses and promotions they can offer to nationals, thanks to Bulgaria’s regulation. However, offshore casinos are not tied to these rules. When claiming bonuses and promotions, ensure that your chosen casino has fair terms and conditions attached to them and that Bulgarians are eligible to claim those offers.
Bulgarian Language: Bulgarians can speak English, and some can speak a variety of other languages. However, you will feel most at home when being able to play in Bulgarian. The best online casinos in Bulgaria will ensure that this is possible.
Bulgarian-Friendly Payment Methods: Bulgarians use several different payment methods, including VISA, MasterCard, Skrill, Neteller and Todito. Sofort, TrustPay and Instadebit, as well as bank transfers, are also popular. A good variety of these should be offered, and the casino should at least accept the euro currency, but ideally, the Bulgarian lev.
A Plethora of Games: As mentioned, Bulgarians have access to a variety of games. The trouble is, sometimes not all these games are available on the same site, so multiple accounts are needed. The best Bulgarian casinos will provide you with access to many different types of gambling games with a single account.
Bulgarian Customer Support: As with gameplay, Bulgarians are going to feel most comfortable when they can play in their own language. Any top casino will make sure that customer support is also available in Bulgarian, and via live chat, no less.
Any Bulgarian online casino which checks most (if not all) of the boxes listed above will be amongst the best in the business. Many offshore casinos also fit the bill. If you want a heads up finding a top Bulgarian casino to play at, feel free to check out the surplus of recommended and approved casino sites listed here on this page.