I’ve said before that gambling is an evil occupation and that there should be a curb on encouraging it so it is with a slight joy I see this tax being decided. This goes against the vote against 10% tax on gambling a few days ago that I posted on. Things change so quickly in politics!
All gambling activities will have a 15 per cent unified tax rate as of 2010, Bulgaria's Parliament decided on November 26 2009, approving the second reading of amendments to the Corporate Income Act.
Currently, gambling on sports is taxed at 10 per cent of revenue, while all other games of chance, such as lottery, casino games and bingo, are levied 12 per cent tax.
The quarterly tax on gambling machines and roulette tables will also be increased as of January 1 2010. Currently gambling machines are taxed 300 leva every three months while the rate for roulette tables is 18 000 leva. This will increase to 500 leva and 22 000 leva due every three months.
The move to increase the tax on gambling has been widely criticised by Bulgaria's gambling industry associations and Bulgaria’s largest bookmaker, Eurofootball.
The company said that the increased tax would have a negative effect on the industry, which employed about 80 000 people, and would not lead to more revenue to the Budget, given that the industry’s revenue was already down 40 per cent. According to a company statement, the 12 per cent tax rate would bring about 30 million leva in losses for the sector in 2010.
According to Finance Ministry calculations, the two percentage point increase would bring a further 12 million leva to the Budget every year. Legislators should raise revenue collection from the gambling industry by concentrating on better regulation of the online gambling business, which could bring as much as 160 million leva more to the Budget annually, Eurofootball said.
The bookmaker has long lobbied for government regulation of online gambling, which, Eurofootball argues, is illegal because none of the major international betting websites is licensed as a bookmaker in Bulgaria.