Moldova is handing over control over gambling and lotteries to foreign companies
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Gambling is a state monopoly in Moldova, and now the country is handing control over gambling and lotteries to two foreign companies under a public-private partnership.
The APP (Moldova’s Public Property Agency, ), will no longer hold a monopoly on gambling and lotteries, as the state announced plans to implement a public-private partnership project with two EU member companies.
The first contract, relating to slot machines, has been won by Novo Gaming M Technologies GmbH, part of the Austria’s Novomatic consortium operating.
Novomatic, owned by Austrian billionaire Johann Graf, 71, operates in 45 countries, and exports high-tech gaming equipment to more than 70 countries all over the world.
The company is one of the largest gaming technology companies in the world. It has 25,500 employees worldwide, operating in over 2,100 locations with a total of 260,000 game machines and electronic roulettes.
The second contract, regarding the lottery and sports bets, has gone to NGM SPC Limited, formed by Market AD, National Lottery AD and NGM SPC Limited.
The companies are part of National Lottery AD, the largest licensed gambling operator in Bulgaria.
Media reports say the company over the past three years has enjoyed one of the highest growth rates in the South-Eastern Europe.
It is owned by Bulgarian Vasil Krumov Bozhkov, 62, a controversial businessman mentioned in the US diplomatic telegrams revealed by WikiLeaks as nicknamed “the Skull”. Bozhkov, who has never faced charges, has not commented on the claims made about him in WikiLeaks.
The Moldovan state has secured a good revenue from the companies’ activities. The proposal is that 75 per cent of the revenue generated in the lottery sector be returned to the National Lottery of Moldova, NLM.
For sports bets, the NLM will receive 90 per cent of the revenues.
The share of gross revenue from slot machines that will come back to the NLM is 51 per cent, which is a higher percentage than in other European countries operating similar public-private partnerships, like Romania, noted APP in a press release.
In June 2016, the leader of the ruling party Vlad Plahotniuc “declared war” on illegal gambling in casinos in Moldova and on the gambling addiction that had ruined some people’s lives.
In November 2016, about 200 policemen stormed and shut down all the casinos in the country over just one night, with Plahotniuc claiming the success of the operation.
On 5 December 2016, a draft law written by ruling party deputies stipulated that the managing and development of gambling activities, except for casinos, was now a state monopoly, to be carried out only through the National Lottery of Moldova. Parliament adopted the law quickly on December 22, 2016.
Source: European Gaming Industry News