Controversy Erupts as Bulgaria Bans Gambling Advertising in Media

Politics | April 30, 2024, Tuesday // 16:40|  views

A significant blow has been dealt to the media landscape in Bulgaria as the National Assembly approved a ban on gambling advertisements across television, news websites, and print media. The decision, made in the second reading with changes to the Gambling Act, comes amidst heated debate and divergent opinions among lawmakers and industry stakeholders.

The ban, proposed by Temenuzka Petkova from GERB and Yordan Tsonev from DPS, is set to take effect just three days after its promulgation, signaling a swift and decisive move by legislators. While proponents argue that the ban is a step in the right direction towards curbing gambling addiction, critics express concerns about its potential economic and social ramifications.

Despite objections raised by media industry organizations and gambling operators, the ban garnered overwhelming support from MPs, highlighting the urgency and determination behind its implementation. Only the lottery will be exempt from the ban, given its unique contribution to sports and culture through the distribution of profits.

The decision has sparked mixed reactions from various sectors, with sports federations lamenting the loss of sponsorship and funding opportunities, while the Bulgarian Gambling Association warns of the proliferation of unlicensed gambling sites in the absence of regulated advertising channels.

Businesses affected by the ban are urging lawmakers to reconsider and explore alternative measures to protect vulnerable groups without compromising media independence and financial viability. The Association of Bulgarian Radio and Television Broadcasters criticizes the timing of the ban, labeling it as a targeted attack on media freedom and financial stability.

Journalists and media professionals voice concerns over the sudden loss of advertising revenue and its impact on content quality and accessibility. They argue that the ban undermines the financial sustainability of media outlets and raises questions about the motives behind such regulatory measures.

Amidst the debate, there are also practical considerations regarding the implementation of the ban, including its potential disruption to existing advertising contracts and the redistribution of advertising budgets to alternative platforms such as social networks.

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Tags: Bulgaria, gambling, advertising, media, controversy


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