EEGS 2012

The 5th anniversary edition of the EEGS had a great success and a record number of participants in Sofia

For the 5th year in Sofia was held Eastern European Gaming Summit (EEGS). As a tradition, the forum gathered representatives of the most important international organizations from the gaming industry in Europe and the world. They discussed all the current topics from the sector focused on the new legislations in Bulgaria and the other European countries, which regulate the changes related to the new technological tendencies in the industry including: server-based environment, online gambling, sport betting, etc.

The conference gathered a record number of representatives from the regional regulatory commissions of gambling from 15 countries on Round table on which they exchanged ideas and experience to support the beneficial cooperation between the state’s structures for regulation and effective support to the legal gaming business in European Union and all Europe.

The conference was opened by the chairman of the Bulgarian State Commission on Gambling, who announced that the brand new law for the gaming industry increases the requirements for the sector, but also aims to establish an equal conditions for the business and for the consumers and to build a stable balance and growth. He emphasized that in Bulgaria there is a strong potential for development in this area for becoming an Eastern European centre of the Gaming industry.

Later, on the official press conference organized by the organizers of EEGS and BEGE EXPO – Kaloyan Krastev, Chairman of Bulgarian State Commission on Gambling added that the regulator’s work continues its work in acceptance of all statutory instruments and regulations. This way the operators will have the opportunity to start working by new law as soon as possible and to apply and get licensed for their activity. He stressed that since the taxation of gambling is connected with the taxation of all economic activity in the country, expectation the tax rates on online activity to be regulated after the changes in the taxation law and the first licensed for such activity is likely to be considered by the end of the year. The first licenses for such kind of activity probably will be discussed at the end of the year.

Guests of the press conference were representatives from some of the most important international associations and regulators from Europe and USA.

Hakan Hallsted – Director General, Gaming Board for and Chairman of the Forum of the European Gaming Regulators (GREF) praised the EEGS as a well established and useful forum, which provides the right environment in which the operators can discuss with each other all the problems and positive experience. He added that such kind of forum is very significant for raising the role of the Eastern Europe in the world map.

Joseph Borg Chief Regulatory Officer, Lotteries and Gaming Authority Malta/ Member on the Board of Trustees, The International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR), mentioned that he attends EEGS from its beginning and he is very satisfied from the fact that the importance of the conference grows every year. With the globalization of the gaming industry, cooperation between the operators is becoming more and more important and such kinds of forums create favorable conditions for achieving their goals.

Robert W. Stocker II - Member, Dickinson Wright PLLC/Past President, International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL), shared his valuable experience from his practice in the gaming market in the USA. He mentioned all matters that concern the Bulgarian gaming market at the moment. Regarding the most actual topic related to the smoking ban, he gave for an example USA where the profits of the gaming places has decreased with 10% in the states where the law is adopted. He said that this ban is not adopted on a federal level, but only in some states where it is only partial and do not include casino halls. Regarding another important topic – the ban of dissemination of information and advertising of gambling, Robert Stocker emphasized that this ban will restrict the tourism development and if Bulgaria wants to use its potential in relation to the tourist market, than this ban should be very well considered. He said that the gambling advertising is not a factor for increasing the number of addicted players, because they are a constant percentage from all players – about 1-2%, who not depends from the advertising messages.

Robert Stocker congratulated Bulgaria for the online gaming regulation as he emphasized that in this matter we are ahead of many countries, including USA. Many countries, including the U.S., which talks about good foresight on behalf of the state, which has assessed the potential of the online market, which thus generate income and economic progress of the country rather than remain in the grey sector. On the occasion of the hottest topic for the business for the possible introduction of the taxation of the profits of the casino clients, Robert Stocker again gave an example from the USA’s practice where only profits above certain levels are taxed. Many countries, including the U.S., which talks about good foresight on behalf of the state, which has assessed the potential of the online market, which thus generate income and economic progress of the country rather than remain in the grey sector.

Helmut Kafka - Vice President, European Gaming and Amusement Federation (EUROMAT)congratulated our country, that it is introduced a regulation for the new technologies in the gambling sector and said that there are two important aspects of this – that all the following details in the regulation should be taken into consideration with the regulations in Europe and that prior the taxation stands important challenge to ensure competitiveness of the industry to avoid risk of getting back to the grey sector.

Summarizing the importance of the both events, Angel Iribozov, Chairman, Bulgarian Trade Association of the Manufacturers and Operators in the Gaming Industry (BTAMOGI) and the initiator of the events, said that after the acceptance of the new gambling law for the remote gaming in Bulgaria which most important part is the introduced regulation on remote gaming in Bulgaria. Here remains to solve a number of vital factors for the industry including the complete set of regulations to regulate the approach of the taxation of the industry, including online gaming and additional qualification concerning advertising and responsible attitude toward the sector. He shared that industry is ready to participate in a fair and constructive dialogue on upcoming positive solution of these problems gaming business in Bulgaria to continue the existence on the world map and to remain an attractive market for operators, manufacturers, investors and the users of these products.

16-18 October, 2012 at the Inter Expo Center was held Balkan Entertainment and Gaming Expo (BEGE Expo)