Moldova Says ‘No’ to Gambling Monopoly – Calls in Private Sector
The tiny nation of Moldova, in Eastern Europe, is doing something that most European countries won’t, it’s divesting itself of its long held gambling monopoly. According to Balkan Insight, the outsourcing project includes everything from slot machines to sports betting and even the national lottery.
Under the terms of the new plan, Moldova’s government will share revenue with private companies it’s already contracted with to provide services to the gambling sector. The amount of the revenue share varies from 51 percent to 95 percent. Here’s how it breaks down and who won those lucrative contracts:
- Slots - Novo Gaming M Technologies GmbH, Molvdoa keeps 51 percent of revenue.
- Sports Betting - NGM SPC Limited, Moldova keeps 95 percent of revenue.
- National Lottery - NGM SPC Limited, Moldova keep 75 percent of revenue.
The companies awarded the contracts include Novo Gaming, an Austrian gaming services provider that currently operates in 45 countries. Moldova’s sports betting and lottery contract went to a conglomeration of companies owned by Bulgarian billionaire named Vasil Krumov Bozhkov.
Bozkhov is a controversial figure who has been accused of having links to organized crime, but also runs Bulgaria’s largest licensed gambling operation. Though he’s never been charged with any financial crimes, Bozkhov has been mentioned in leaked US intelligence documents as being a player in money laundering operations and was nicknamed, “The Skull.”
Moldova is truly bucking the trend when it comes to European governments and their hold on gambling monopolies. In larger European countries, like Spain and Germany, government has been reluctant to open their gaming markets to outside interests and were very keen on holding on to these lucrative revenue streams. Moldova’s deal, it should be noted, keeps more revenue in government hands than other public/private gambling revenue share deals we’ve seen in Europe.