Bulgarian MPs Reject Gambling Law Amendments

Bulgarian lawmakers rejected on Thursday the controversial amendments to the country’s gambling laws proposed by the cabinet and criticised by the opposition and president Georgi Parvanov.

The amendments bill proposed to tax betting firms 10% of their profit, rather than 10% of their turnover, as it is now, and has sparked a heated debate on the parliamentary floor.

The finance ministry’s rationale for the proposal was that the change would leave a bigger share of the revenues with the State Lottery and State Raffle, which are used to subsidise Bulgarian athletes.

But the amendments, as worded in the proposal, would also cover two private firms, both owned by Bulgaria’s richest man, Vassil Bozhkov, namely lottery Eurochance and bookmakers Eurofootball.

The opposition accused the Socialist-led cabinet of lobbying for private interests and even the Socialist Parvanov blasted the proposal, saying he would veto the amended bill.