The gambling market in Bulgaria has grown by over 50% during the past two years based on the increase in tax revenue coming from the industry.
The Bulgarian Gambling Industry Achieves Impressive Growth During the Past Two Years
According to data from Bulgaria’s National Revenue Agency, the overall revenue coming from the gambling sector for the year 2021 was about BGN 241 million ($128.6 million), which marked a 25% increase in comparison to the year 2020.
The results are even better for 2022. So far, for the first nine months of this year, the gambling industry has contributed BGN 233 million ($128 million) in tax revenue which is comparable to the revenue collected for the whole of 2021.
If this pace is kept up during the remaining three months of 2022, which is the most likely scenario, this will probably result in a growth of 30% compared to 2021.
The fast-paced growth is mainly based on the development of the online gambling sector. Online gambling websites flourished due to COVID restrictions hitting brick-and-mortar venues and resulting from the fact that the Bulgarian government cracked down on the biggest stakeholder on the market Bulgarian billionaire Vasil Bozhkov who operated several licensed gambling operators.
These factors increased competition and allowed new companies to enter the market which was no longer dominated by Bozhkov’s firms.
Licensed Online Gambling Operators increased from 6 to 18 in Just Two Years
Bulgaria’s National Revenue Agency reported that the online gambling sector contributed about BGN 133.4 million ($70.9 million) to the country’s coffer for the period from January 1 to September 30, 2022. In 2020, the tax revenue collected from online gambling for the whole year was just BGN 73.8 million ($39.3 million).
The number of licensed online gambling operators has also been rising considerably since the start of the pandemic. At the beginning of 2020, only 6 companies were offering online gambling services in the Bulgarian market.
Currently, the Bulgarian State Commission for Gambling has granted licenses to 18 companies for offering online gambling products. The number of sites that these 18 companies operate is 11 and the number of licenses is 32, which are granted for a variety of online games.
Brick-and-Mortar Gambling Venues Have Also Recovered
Land-based gambling venues suffered considerably during the past two years of COVID restrictions. They were closed for periods with varying lengths.
However, with the easing of restrictions casinos and gaming halls started their way to recovery already in the last quarter of 2021.
In 2020 the licensed gaming halls in Bulgaria were 770 and the licensed casinos were 19. As of September 30, 2022, there are 21 licensed casinos and a whopping 1,020 gaming halls. The total number of licensed gaming operators that are running gaming halls is 319 – this compares to 303 in 2020 – and the number of licensed gaming operators that run casinos is 18, an increase of only one from 2020.