Bulgaria’s National Assembly has confirmed that it has received a bill that seeks to expand the games offering and retail coverage of state-owned gambling operator BST – Bulgarian Sports Totalisator (BST).
The mandate calls for BST, the operating company of Toto BG, to be allowed to expand its retail presence, doubling its point of sales network from 1,500 to 3,000 betting points.
The bill has been drafted by the ITN Party (populist/ anti-corruption), which has a minority standing in Bulgaria’s National Assembly and will require the support of a larger political counterpart.
As advocates of the bill, ITN stated that an expansion of Toto BG’s network was required to fill Bulgaria’s state funding gaps for sports projects and cultural services.
The bill further stipulates that Toto BG’s expansion should allow BST to deploy self-service betting terminals, allowing for the state-owned operator to save on costs and amplify its existing ‘random games’ catalogue available to customers.
The National Assembly has forwarded the bill to be reviewed by the Committee of Budget and Finance, as ITN seeks to gather support for the mandate to be put forward to a vote.
Should the bill be passed into law it would represent the biggest overhaul of BST, the company that was appointed to operate Toto BG as a state-owned monopoly in 2012, following Bulgaria’s full privatisation of lottery and retail betting services.
However, the overhaul of BST faces multiple challenges in securing a vote, as Bulgaria sees itself amid a constitutional crisis, unable for political parties to form a coalition government.
With no majority, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov has failed to secure governing terms, with no political consensus on how a coalition government should handle the nation’s fraught challenges of high inflation, ongoing pandemic costs and Bulgaria’s standing in the regional conflict between Russia and Ukraine.