Bulgaria’s B2B Gaming Licence2 October 2023
The regulatory landscape
Regulators grant B2B gambling licences to businesses that provide gambling-related business-to-business services or products to other businesses in the gambling industry.
In that vein, in Malta, “critical gaming licences” are granted to “provide or carry out a critical gaming supply from Malta, to a Maltese person or through a Maltese legal entity”. “Back-office” B2B licences are also on offer for the supply of software services. It has been reported that more that 154 B2B (ie, both critical gaming and back-office) gaming licences have been granted in Malta.
Specialised “Category 2” gaming licences and certificates are also awarded by the Alderney Government.
The purpose of the B2B licence
A B2B gambling licence facilitates intra- or out-of- group sales and enables optimising a corporate group’s structure by allocating functions, capabilities and profit and cost centres, and therefore ultimately allowing to build larger and more efficient businesses in the gaming space. It also allows developing new business lines in selling specialist supply services to third parties.
A gambling licence capable of being used for B2B services is also available in Bulgaria. As with other types of gambling licence, it is granted by the Executive Director of the National Revenue Agency.
Bulgaria offers two types of B2B gambling licence
- Licences for producing, distributing and servicing gaming equipment (Production Gaming Licence)  and
- Licences for importing, distributing and servicing gaming equipment (Import Gaming Licence) .
Thus, both types of B2B licence are nominally related to gaming equipment, though they may be available in respect of gaming software equipment.
Applicants for either type of B2B licence may be:
- companies registered in Bulgaria, another member state of the European Union, an EEA state, or Switzerland or 2. sole traders.
Investment requirement to obtain a Bulgarian B2B gaming licence
Licence applicants need to meet certain investment thresholds to qualify. They must invest respectively:
- For a Production Gaming Licence – not less than EUR 300,000
- For an Import Gaming Licence – not less than EUR 100,000.
Qualifying investments for the purposes of the licences are investments in fixed tangible and long-life intangible assets and incurred expenses recognisable for tax purposes, that are directly related to the gambling business.
If the applicant has yet to complete these threshold investments, they need to submit evidence of available funding for the (incomplete portion of the) investments and the anticipated funding’s origin. The funds must be available to the applicant in cash or be secured by an unconditional and irrevocable bank guarantee valid for the term of the licence, with the investment completed within an extra 6 months.
Can Non-EU residents and non-EU nationals be shareholders of B2B gaming licensees?
Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals are generally not eligible for being licensed in Bulgaria, however they may be if they meet at least one of the following two requirements:
- The Applicant already operates within Bulgaria a land-based casino adjacent to or in a hotel, where the hotel is officially classifed as four stars or more, and is owned either by the applicant or a company it controls.
- Alternatively, the Applicant has invested no less than EUR 10,000,000 in other businesses in Bulgaria and created no less than 500 jobs through such investment.
Any gaming equipment, jackpot systems, gaming software and communication equipment intended for use in Bulgaria must be tested at one of a number of pre-approved laboratories. These laboratories are in Bulgaria, elsewhere in the EEA, and in Switzerland.
The National Revenue Agency must review a licence application within 60 days of receipt, which it may extend by up to 30 days. Within 14 days of executing the review, the National Revenue Agency must issue a decision.
Upon a favourable decision, a certificate has to be issued by the NRA before the licence holder may start operations, conditional on compliance with any requirement for investment as above.
Validity period of a Bulgarian B2B licence
А Production/Importation Gaming Licence is valid for 5 years but may be issued for 10 years if the applicant can demonstrate to the National Revenue Agency that they can exceed double the amount of the investment thresholds above.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at: [email protected].
 “Producer” means a person who manufactures, assembles, programs, modifies, recycles gaming equipment and is the holder of the industrial property rights for the use of hardware or software in gaming equipment.
 “Importer and Distributor” means a person who imports and offers for sale or use gaming equipment for gaming activities.