On this page you will find information (scroll down) about:
- the Bulgarian gaming market, particularly regulation/legality of online gaming
- the Bulgarian language and the challenges of iGaming localisation.
Status and potential of the
Bulgarian online gaming market
Bulgaria has experienced rapid economic growth in recent years, with an average monthly wage of $750. With a small population of about 7 million people, the Eastern European country is, nevertheless, a place where gambling is growing year by year in revenues and popularity. A look back into the last 20 years of Bulgaria's gambling market shows the ups and downs and in-betweens of a challenging maturation process.
Until the early '90s, games of chance were illegal in Bulgaria, as they were in all socialist states that belonged to the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. It was in 1993 that Bulgarian government legalised bingo halls, casinos and a lottery. Shortly after, gambling facilities spread throughout the country. Five years later, lawmakers came up with a taxation formula for the burgeoning gambling industry. IGaming operators had to wait the early 2008 for their field of business to be legalised, with four more years for thorough regulations to be enacted. 2013 witnessed a worsening of online gambling regulation in Bulgaria, with heavy fiscal measures and a blacklist that gathered 172 unlicensed operators throughout the year.
Lower tax rates and licensing costs allow iGaming companies to compete and widen their business.
The dark clouds were swept away and the end of 2013, when the Gambling Reform Bill passed in Bulgarian parliament. Created with the obvious intention to attract foreign iGaming companies to Bulgarian market, the bill softened the country’s gambling tax policy.
Since then, Bulgaria has been continually attracting renowned gambling brands. The first gambling license was handed out to PokerStars in early 2014. Eric Hollreiser - Head of Corporate Communication at Rational Group (owner of PokerStars) - spoke in very optimistic tones about this move: "We believe in the potential of the Bulgarian market and that is why our company has invested in the local license." Betfair was granted license soon afterwards.
Presently, foreign gambling operators are of opinion that Bulgaria has one of the most balanced gambling regulatory frameworks in EU, partly because licenses are granted without the need to establish a local company.
Contact us if you are interested in targeting Bulgaria’s online gambling market. All our translators are qualified professionals, with up-to-date knowledge of iGaming industry’s hottest topics.
Challenges of Bulgarian
As a post-communist country, Bulgaria had adopted many terms that are nowadays considered archaic (i.e militia, komsomol, five-year plan etc.). And while such words are no longer used, most terms and expressions in online language which have been coined in English over the past two decades have been quickly integrated in Bulgarian.
The fast pace of new terms introduction has led to the frequent use of transliteration – representing the original English terms with the characters from the Bulgarian alphabet. This is also valid for gaming translation.
Transliteration is used for general terms such as „account“(„акаунт“) and more specifically in sports translation for terms such as „selection“(„селекция“) and handicap (хендикап). Recently, transliteration from English has also become a preferred method for translating words which have a Bulgarian equivalent.
One example from casino translation: the word Lobby has a Bulgarian equivalent (преддверие) but has been widely transliterated in the past with its French equivalent foyer (фоайе). Nowadays, it is more common to use the English transliteration (lobby - лоби). The same goes for words such as „forecast“(Bulgarian equivalent – „прогноза“; transliteration from English – „форкаст“) and „deposit“(Bulgarian equivalent – влог; transliteration from English - депозит). This comes to denote that English is considered as a modern language and is widely used in new domains of business and social life in Bulgaria.
On the other hand, there are terms which sound awkward when transliterated and the translator has to find a suitable equivalent in Bulgarian (for example „igaming“ is translated in the same way as „online gaming“ or “internet gaming”). Other times it is hard to even find a descriptive analogue in Bulgarian, and the English word is preserved with its original spelling („each-way bets“>> „each-way залози“).
The richness of the English language is also a challenge in gaming localization from English to Bulgarian. English offers a variety of synonyms which are translated with one and the same word in Bulgarian (for example „wager“and „bet“are translated as “залог“).
In Bulgarian context is crucial especially when localizing game interface. It is important to know whether a word is a website menu item or a “call to action” button. The word “bet” can be used both as a noun and a verb and unlike English where it has the same spelling, in Bulgarian the translation differs for nouns and verbs.
It is also important to explain whether a word or a phrase should be translated within a specific character length. Not only is Bulgarian a descriptive language, but words are also normally longer than English words. Therefore, when sending an English project to a Bulgarian translator, be sure to include instructions for the translator who could use abbreviation or transliteration to solve that issue.