Bulgarian Authorities Bust Illegal Gaming Ring

By Maria McCoyGoogle

This past weekend, more than 120 Bulgarian officials from the Computer Crimes, Intellectual Property and Gambling section of the Organized Crime Directorate General busted a large-scale illegal sports betting operation that was using offshore sports books to enable illegal wagering on domestic and international soccer matches.

The illegal gaming ring was making a profit of about $3,000 per day and may have been connected to some Bulgarian soccer clubs. Police confiscated an undisclosed amount of cash, 20 computers, 37 cell phones and a small amount of cocaine in the raid as well.

The police raid was proof that the country is committed to enforcing its new online casino games laws. The new legislation makes it obligatory for Internet Service Providers to block unlicensed online casino games sites, determined by a government blacklist.

The laws have been quite controversial in that free speech advocates fear that a government blacklist is a sign of regression in civil rights in the former Communist country. There have been calls for the Bulgarian president to override the online casino games legislation for this reason.

Online casino games and top rated online casinos were made legal in Bulgaria in 2008. The Bulgarian government has hopes that new online casino games legislation will generate a profit of about $67 million annually, which about half of which they intend to put towards a variety of youth sports programs.

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