The Bulgarian online gambling market has been growing at a two-digit rate in the past few years. The number of operators has risen from six at the beginning of 2020 to 16 in 2022. They compete for a slice of the sector's gross revenue of 1 billion levs (about 500 million euro) per year, which is the figure of receipts minus the winnings paid. There is no information about the volume of the gambling business in Bulgaria but industry representatives assess it at several billion levs in the form of bets. Judging by the fees collected by the National Revenue Agency, which are calculated as a percentage of the gross revenue and reached 251.2 million levs in 2022, the online gambling market has grown by 50% in each of the past two years.
That rate of growth was catalyzed by several events. One was the revocation of the licenses of Vasil Bozhkov's private lotteries and book-maker Eurofootball in 2020. Thus the state eliminated a big player in the market, opening a gap that was quickly occupied by other operators. Covid-19 also contributed to the surge in online gambling.
The market is currently divided among 16 players, predominantly local. However, most of the operators have foreign end-owners and there is no information about their revenues.
The operator is said to be the largest player in the industry. It is owned by the Naydenov brothers, Boyan and Tsvetomir, through their Malta-registered company Brobet Limited. Besides an online betting platform, the brothers manage two casinos and 50 gaming halls. The brand also operates in Romania, Spain, Italy, Serbia, Malta, Greece and Curacao.
They also own bet.bg, one of the more recently licensed websites for online gambling.
The brothers used to be partners in Bozhkov's gambling business. The rift between them and Bozhkov in 2019 was the probable reason why he was issued 18 criminal charges and fled to Dubai, after his private lotteries and Eurofootball were stripped of their licenses.
Winbet and Inbet
The Winbet brand unites an online gambling platform and gaming halls. The company, Win Bet Online, is owned by Georgi Papazki, who is a brother of Vratsa businessman Valter Papazki, and Danail Iliev. The brand is known in Romania, Serbia, Italy, Croatia and Tanzania too.
Inbet is a connected brand that operates the eponymous gambling website. The end owner is Valter Papazki's son, Alexander, and Danail Iliev holds a small share. The company has been on the market since April 2022. It has seven gaming halls in the country that operate under the Inbet Casino brand.
The two brands are registered as separate companies but operate under one umbrella. The group is believed to be the second largest gambling business in Bulgaria.
The license-holder of the betting website is Telematic Interactive Bulgaria. The company debuted on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange in February 2022 and announced plans to get listed in Frankfurt in the middle of 2023. The bulk of Telematic's revenue - some 85% - is generated from online casino games.
The company is controlled by Milo Borisov, who is directly and indirectly connected with several other licensed operators of gaming halls and casinos, e.g. Eldorado Corporation, Palms Merkur etc. Some of the offline sites are run in partnership with Germany's Gauselmann Group.
Other players in the sector include Bet365, which is said to be the biggest sports betting platform in Bulgaria in terms of revenue. It is a part of UK-based Bet365 Group and operates in Bulgaria through a Maltese company, Hillside (New Media Malta) PLC..
Sesame is part of the group of gambling companies that are indirectly connected with the brother of current caretaker sports minister Vesela Lecheva, Daniel.
The license for Betano's operations is held by Greece's Kaizen Gaming Group. The brand is also present in Portugal, Romania, Germany, Greece and Cyprus, as well as in several non-EU countries, including Brazil.
Pokerstars operates in many EU countries, offering poker and casino games. The license in Bulgaria is held by Malta-registered TSG Interactive.
Bwin.com is run by Electra Works Europe Malta and offers mainly sports betting. It is part of Entain, an international group.
Toto.bg is operated by Bulgarski Sporten Totalizator. The state-owned company got the monopoly in lottery games after Vasil Bozhkov's withdrawal, almost doubling its revenue for the past three years.
8888 was licensed as an online gambling operator in the fall of 2021. The owner company is Top Bet of Rumen Chandarov and Nikolay Nikolov.
Alphawin offers sports betting and an online casino. The license is held by Alphabet Gaming, which also operates several gaming halls under the Alphabet brand. Owner of the company is Lyubomir Zaharinov.
Betway is a website of Malta-registered GMBS Ltd, a subsidiary of international gambling holding Super Group. Under the Betway brand it operates in several European countries.
Betmarket is a new local player owned by Ivelin Todorov. The license was issued to Sit-Interactive, which was renamed to BetMarket last year.
Sportingwin is a relatively new gambling site. The license is held by SB Entertainment of Miroslav Rashev.