Online gambling in Hungary seems to be on the path of expansion, as the country’s Government has unveiled new online gambling laws that will make it possible for private operators to start offering their services to local customers. The move is also set to put an end to the monopoly on sports betting that has been held by the country and is considered the most significant change brought to the Hungarian gambling legislation in years.
As mentioned above, the proposed legislative changes will make it possible for operators from the European Economic Area (EEA) to reach Hungarian customers by offering them their services. However, they will first need to get the permission of the Hungarian gaming regulatory body before doing so.
So far, the Government has not announced a limit on the number of operating licenses that will be issued under the new laws. Credit and debit cards will both be accepted for deposits with online gambling operators in case they are linked to an authorized payment provider.
The most recent amendments that were brought to the local gambling laws date from 2014. According to their provisions, land-based gambling companies could apply for online gambling operating permits but there was a monopoly on the sports betting market, meaning that Szerencsejáték Zrt, a state-run operator, was the only one allowed to offer sports betting services in Hungary.
Gambling Law Amendment Will Allow Companies to Apply for Gambling
The newest amendments of the country’s gambling laws are set to boost player protection, too. The proposed bill takes into account the fact there is currently more rivalry on the market, which could result in excess gambling, but local lawmakers still believe that the player protection plan that is set to be implemented by gambling companies will be in line with some major responsible gambling and player protection principles adopted by some of the most heavily regulated gambling markets not only in Europe but on a global scale, as well.
The increased competition in the gambling sector is further explained in the proposed piece of legislation, which states the large number of companies operating in the market could encourage Hungarian residents to gamble excessively. That is why the new rules seek to not only liberalize the betting market of the country but also make sure that players remain protected against possible gambling-related harm.
On the other hand, some special rules will be implemented for operators who are willing to get an operating permit in Hungary. Gambling companies that want to apply for a license will be required to prove capital of no less than HUF1 billion (which is about $3.2 million). They will also have to pay license fees of approximately HUF600 million (about $1.9 million) to the Hungarian State Treasury. The Government has not determined gambling tax rates but they are expected to be big enough to guarantee contributions of no less than HUF250 million.
The notification of the European Commission will run until May 4th and during that time, there will be no progress of the new Hungarian gambling bill. According to reports, this would be beneficial for Hungary, especially considering the fact that 5 years ago, in 2017, the Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the country’s legislation was unlawfully imposing a monopoly by excluding other European operators from license application.