Bulgarian government announced its plans to force land-based casinos to cease operations until 2025. The news didn’t ring well in the ears of the Bulgarian sports clubs, especially the football ones, which are actively protesting against the decision.
The government’s intention clashes with the financial survival of the sports clubs which are sponsored by the casino operators. Major clubs like football champions Ludogorets Razgrad and cup holders Lokomotiv Plovdiv as well as the famous Sofia clubs, CSKA and Levski, expressed their concerns over the financial repercussions on their budgets. Less popular sports like basketball, volleyball, and others in Bulgaria will also be deeply affected by the decision.
At the start of June, the nationalist party of the center-right government’s coalition submitted the proposed legislation to the parliament. The new bill suggests the ban of all land-based casinos, with the exception of the ones located at five-star hotels in 10 travel destinations of the country. The government’s plan suggests that an impressive number of approximately 600 venues will be closed, enforcing the efforts against corruption and deal with the public health problem of gambling addiction.
Ludogorets expressed their opposition in a press release, stating that the very existence of many clubs will be put into question. The football champions were followed by the Bulgarian basketball federation, which stressed the importance of the gambling sponsorships to the local championship as well as the financial support that the teams receive by the casinos.
The Bulgarian Gambling Association also voiced its opinion by calling for broad discussion over a series of matters like a total change of the industry’s face and impact on the state budget.
On behalf of the nationalist party, leader Valeri Simeonov insisted on the passing of the bill as a necessary precaution to deal with the “pandemic of gambling addiction”.
The future will tell if the landscape of land-based casinos will be altered drastically, subsequently forcing local players to turn to the Bulgarian online casinos, which might take advantage of the situation and thrive in the near future.