Bulgaria NRA begins enforcement campaign against illegal gambling websites

The Bulgarian government has unveiled plans to privatise its Bulgarian Sports Totalisator brand, the currently state-owned betting and lottery company
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The National Revenue Agency (NRA) of Bulgaria has blocked access to over 150 unlicensed gambling websites as part of an enforcement campaign initiated this September. 

The department that oversees gambling within its supervisory remit informed that the majority of illegal websites were licensed outside of EU member states jurisdictions.

The NRA did not publish any details on which websites it had blocked, but cited that access to infringing domains would be suspended within a three-day period.

If after the deadline the websites remain accessible, the NRA will alert Bulgaria’s High Court to instruct internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to the websites.

2023 has seen the NRA toughen its stance on illegal online gambling, enforcing new AML and compliance duties on licensed operators.

Following a MONEYVAL review in August, the NRA established a new branch titled “Prevention and Counter Action Against Money Laundering” –  tasked with monitoring of gambling transactions and inspecting the accounts of licensed operators.  

In a subsequent notice, the NRA informed Bulgarian operators that they must switch server protocols to ‘NIS ordnance’ by 1 October, as a mandatory compliance duty.

The Law for AML Protective Measures (APM) designates the NRA as the body that must exercise control over all licensed gambling providers in the country. 

In June, Bulgaria ended its two-year political deadlock, as two-thirds of deputies elected Nikolay Denkov of the Change Party to form a government.

Following four general elections in 18 months, the political uncertainty has forced Bulgaria to delay its target date for adopting the Euro as a new member state. The Denkov government has yet to approve a budget bill for 2023.