The Bulgarian parliament has approved the second reading of legislation that amends the country’s Gambling Act to ban private lottery operators.

Once enacted, all lottery games not operated by the state-run Bulgarian Sports Totalizator must cease their operations within 90 days. The new rules do not apply to state-licensed private operators offering sports betting, slot machines, raffles, bingo or keno. A proposal to ban all gambling advertising failed to garner enough support and was not adopted.

The bill was crafted after the government concluded that private lottery operators had underpaid their taxes to the tune of US$118m over the past six years.

The Bulgarian State Commission on Gambling issued a statement saying that the State Financial Inspection Agency had discovered “irregularities in the calculation and payment” of gambling fees. Specifically, the Commission said not all of its gambling licensees were remitting the correct percentage of their sales.

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