New State Gambling Commission (SCC) Panel For Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s Ministry of Finance has placed Georgi Yordanov in temporary charge of the country’s State Gambling Commission (SCC) following the resignation of Alexander Georgiev.

Yordanov will now act as chairman of the regulator, having most recently served as Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of Finance, a role he had held since November 2014.

Prior to this, he was head of the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Environment and Water and also spent time as a state inspector at the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Finance.

Earlier in his career, he was Director of the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, and Chief Secretary of the National Plant Protection Service.

The appointment comes after Georgiev, who was named chairman of the SCC in April 2019, resigned from the role last week following his detention by police in relation to an ongoing investigation into gambling mogul Vasil Bozhkov.

Reports in Bulgaria state that Bozhkov has been accused of tax evasion, bribery and extortion, but he has denied any wrongdoing. Bozhkov was arrested in the United Arab Emirates last week and the Bulgarian government is working to extradite him back to Bulgaria to face charges.

In addition to the temporary appointment of Yordanov, the Ministry of Finance has made several other changes to the composition of the SCC.

Stoyan Stoyanov, Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Justice; Paun Ilchev, acting chairman of the Bulgarian Institute of Metrology; Krasimir Boyadzhiev, Head of the Special Investigation Unit, Control Directorate at the National Revenue Agency; and Emil Zahariev, Director of the Specialised Directorate at SANS, will now all work with the regulator.

Last week, Bulgarian legislator Valeri Simenov, a member of the National Front for Salvation Party, also moved to introduce a bill to ban private lotteries in the country and restrict the operation of lotteries to a government-owned monopoly.

Simeonov introduced an amendment to the country’s 2012 Gambling Act which would allow only the Bulgarian Sports Totalizator (BST) to organise lotteries in Bulgaria. However, raffle, bingo and keno games could still be organised privately.

The licences for all private lottery games would be terminated three months after the bill is passed, at which point private operators would have to withdraw from the market.

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