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Bulgaria Busts Illegal Betting Ring

Football betting is very popular in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is serious about enforcing its new online gaming laws and proved with a recent set of police raids on illegal gaming operations.

Over the weekend more than 120 officers from the Computer Crimes, Intellectual Property and Gambling section of the Organized Crime Directorate General took down a major sports betting operation. The operations in question were utilizing off shore sports books to facilitate illegal betting on international and domestic soccer matches.

The gambling rings were pulling in around $3000 (USD) a day in revenue and may have had ties to some Bulgarian soccer clubs. Police seized an undisclosed amount of cash, 20 computers, 37 cell phones and a small amount of cocaine in the seizures as well.

Upping the Ante in Bulgaria

Last weekend’s raids come on the heels of a new set of controversial gaming laws in the Eastern European state. Under the new regulations, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are obliged to block unlicensed gaming sites as set out by a government black list.

Many free speech advocates in the former Communist state feared that blocking gaming sites was a giant step backwards for the civil rights. Some activists have asked the country’s president to veto the new gaming measures.

Online gambling, of any kind,  has only been legal been legal in Bulgaria since 2008. Government officials are hoping that the new gambling laws will raise as much as $67 million (USD) annually, about half of which will go towards various youth sports programs.

Do you think that ISP blocking is slap in the face to free speech? Let us know on our Online Gaming Laws and Regulations Forum.