The online gaming blacklist keeps on getting bigger in Bulgaria, with another 20 sites being blocked by the Bulgaria State Gaming Commission.
It has quickly become a case of “what gaming site ISN’T blacklisted?” as the eastern European country continues its crackdown against those online gaming services that do not have a licence to operate in the country. The latest additions to the blacklist have bumped the number of banned gaming sites up to 96, while the number of licenced online gaming sites stands at…wait for it…three.
Some of the sites that have been added in the latest round of blockings are Expekt, Stan James, SBOBet, 188Bet, Marathonbet, Dafabet and Boylesports, with six of that sites domain being put on the blacklist. The blacklist contains a who’s who of online gaming sites, including William Hill, 888, PartyPoker, Betfair, Betfred, Sportingbet, Ladbrokes, Unibet and PokerStars.
Having PokerStars on the list can be seen in many ways as ironic as this present time. That is because the Eureka Poker Tour Bulgaria is currently being played at the Golden Sands resort, which is situated near the northern Bulgarian town of Varga.
The Eureka Poker Tour is sponsored by PokerStars.
The Bulgaria State Gaming Commission was officially given the power to blacklist online gaming websites in March last year after a motion was passed in the country’s parliament. Under the commission’s licensing regulations, online gaming operators are required to have a physical presence in Bulgaria and at least five years’ experience of operating in the online gaming industry.
Online gaming websites are put in a ‘no win’ situation by being blacklisted. Even if they wish to obtain licences to operate in Bulgaria, they are unable to obtain one as the regulations of Bulgarian online gaming licences have not officially been put in place.
For those sites, there is nothing to do but to play the waiting game or shelve any realistic opportunity of being licenced in the country anytime soon. The Bulgarian Government would likely benefit from putting through those regulations sooner rather than later.
A total of 400 poker players have participated in the Eureka Poker Tour Bulgaria Main Event that’s currently underway. That is a record turnout for that event, proof of poker’s growing appeal in Bulgaria.
The government’s decision to blacklist online poker sites instead of putting licensing regulations in place mean that it is losing the chance to earn revenue it could be getting from those sites. The interest from Bulgarians seems to be there, the government’s enthusiasm does not.