Bulgaria – Technology Hub of the Balkans

Technologies have become an inseparable part of our daily lives. They are introduced in every aspect of our being and define our lifestyle and social interaction and innovations in technology are the major driving force in all sectors of the economy. The gaming industry does not fall behind. New guidelines in the sector bound by the Internet and social networks are introduced without excluding the popular virtual and augmented realities.

The gaming industry and regulators strive to find the most suitable system solutions for future development that should be adapted to the new realities. It is a well-known fact that powerful online platforms and system conceptual solutions offer unlimited possibilities for the gaming industry. As far as the Balkans are concerned, especially in Greece, Romania and Macedonia the market segmentation, supervision and technical requirements for gaming equipment and systems continue to evolve.

Bulgaria has been repeatedly indicated as an example of the most developed jurisdiction in the field of gambling. The gaming industry plays an important role and contributes significantly to the economy of the country. The online segment in Bulgaria continues to grow and develop and by the end of September 2016 there are 11 licensed organisers with 24 licenses for online gaming.

Angel Iribozov

Angel Iribozov, Chairman of the Management Board of BTAMOGI and CEO of BEGE Expo

In Bulgaria the greater share falls to local operators providing both casino games and sports betting. In the sector of sports betting, except for the Bulgarian Sports Totalizator presented by its website toto.bg, Eurobet (eurobet.bg) and Eurofootball (eurofootball.bg), successful positions are holding licensed brands popular in Europe and worldwide such as Betfair (betfair.com), PokerStars (pokerstars.bg), BET365 (bet365.com) and the recently licensed brand bwin of the company GVC Holdings (bwin.com). A relatively new trend is the entry of companies-organisers of lottery games online.

Flooding the market and shaping the online sector with an abundance of innovative interactive gaming products, including the approved gaming content and platform vendors like Playtech, Microgaming, NYX, NetEnt, AMATIC Industries GmbH, Casino Technology and Euro Games Technology provide such rich, quality and flexible product. This then allows the operators to undertake steps towards business diversification, investment in the scope of products and services which are dedicated to the customers preferences.

Technology made possible the conversion between the games in the classic casino and the mobile and online games by using platforms that communicate with each other. Shortening the distance and overcoming differences is already a fact thanks to the latest developments. Alike Romania, Bulgarian market is one of the most rapidly developing in Eastern Europe in term of adoption of newest trends, innovative approaches and technological solutions due to the presence of strong, local manufacturers specialised in gaming and possessing a great bank of know-how and creativity delivered in their large portfolios. The benchmark settled by the native industry leaders ranks Bulgaria in the top rating of European markets with significant investments in purchase and installation of high-end gaming equipment and premium product series. A pioneer in that field is one of the Bulgarian companies, namely Casino Technology, which has already successfully implemented several similar projects in different parts of the world. Games of the Bulgarian manufacturers Casino Technology and Euro Games Technology enjoy popularity and success through various online platforms.

According to statistics, over 80% of the production of Bulgarian manufacturers in the industry are meant for export. This sets the requirement for implementation of the highest certification and regulatory frameworks. Among the other important suppliers are the names of JPL, MAGIC COIN, PROXIMA-3, Casino Games and Innovations (CGI), DECART and Redful Engineering.

According to Forbes, Sofia is ranked among the top ten cities around the world to launch your start-up, not only due in part to its low income tax rates- yet another sign of the positive trends of developing technologies. The capital of Bulgaria is where the first in the region technological and scientific park (Sofia Tech Park) was established.

Why Bulgaria is the technology hub of the Balkans? Bulgaria has strong traditions and skilled workforce in the ICT sector and has already become a hub for high value added and R&D IT services.

According to Cisco: “Bulgaria holds 3rd place in Europe and 10th positions worldwide regarding the absolute number of certified IT professionals based there. The country has been known as the Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe because it offers a good mix of high skills, fairly low labor costs and good production quality”. “If you want first-class mathematicians, try looking in Bulgaria.” stated William Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Harvard College.

Companies from the industry do contract programming for some of the biggest brands in the world of gaming software and services, including Spintech, MANSION Group, SB Tech, bwin.party, Bit8, Cayetano Gaming, Dopamine, DENCH EGAMING SOLUTIONS, Bede Gaming, Anakatech, TRADOLOGIC, Paysafe, eMerchatPay, ADCash and etc.

Moreover, in the recent years Bulgaria has become the preferred destination for the outsourcing platforms, especially in the field of help and call centers. Bulgaria ranks first in Europe and the 13th in the world among the top 50 best destinations for outsourcing.

As every evolving market needs a focal point to meet, exchange knowledge and promote its product, Bulgaria has its annual events – the Balkan Entertainment & Gaming Expo and the Eastern European Gaming Summit, which this year will mark their 10th anniversary. The events gather more than 5000 people from the industry annually, thus creating a healthy atmosphere for promoting recent gaming advancements, establishing partnerships and sharing experience. This year the events are expected to prepare even richer agenda with innovation and start-up corners, online and affiliate zones and multiple new format networking events.

The local production and development in Bulgaria thrives. In recent years, highly skilled professionals, who work in the field of technology, have turned the country into a place where international companies of the gaming industry have established their offices for development and maintenance. The modern legal regulation in the industry as well as favorable economic and business environment made Bulgaria a preferred place for investors and entrepreneurs in the sector.

This article was published first on SiGMA MagazineHave you attended SiGMA last year? Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

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