Hungary Online Casino Guide

Gambling Industry Overview in Hungary

The following approaches will be presented

  • Gambling legislation in Hungary
  • Gambling authorities in Hungary
  • Online casinos in Hungary
  • and more

Flag of HungaryHungary is among the countries where casino games and betting activities are legal but both players and casino operators had to deal with serious restrictions. It seems like Hungarian authorities have decided to opt for gambling legalization with the aim of making the sector as thriving as it is in some other European countries.

However, there are many details related to traditional and online gambling that need to be ironed out. The heavy restrictions and harsh requirements foreign casino operators have to meet keep them away from the Hungarian market. They are dissatisfied not only with the inadequate taxation system but also with the fact that online gambling services cannot be provided, unless the operator runs a traditional brick-and-mortar casino on the territory of the country.

History of Gambling Regulation in Hungary

Despite the actions taken towards popularizing the online betting options, Hungarian authorities were not willing to pay closer attention to the issue. After the Gambling Act of 1991, matters were brought to standstill until the European Union urged Hungary to reconsider the stern rules and regulations and to enable foreign operators to enter the gambling sector of the country. Yet, no imminent actions have been taken in that direction and Hungarian gambling market still has its monopolist.

Yet, Hungary achieved a major milestone six years ago when online poker was legalized considered a game of chance.

According to people with knowledge on the matter, betting has always been among the favourite activities of Hungarians. The first records for betting activities date back to the beginning of the 19th century. The contemporary market is expected to develop in the next few years but before that significant changes need to be made.

The Gambling Act of 1991 enabled Szerencsejatek Zrt to become the monopolist on the Hungarian market. Its license is set to expire in 2020. It offers a wide variety of lottery games and runs two brick-and-mortar casinos.

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Existing laws and regulations can be amended at any time and back in 2009 the ban on online poker games was lifted. Two years later, Hungarian players were prohibited from engaging in slot machine games, unless those are based in licensed casinos. In the middle of 2013, considerable progress was made towards the development of sports betting activities.

The Gambling Act was amended in 2013 when Hungarian gambling officials were enabled to grant 11 casino licenses. Casino licenses are divided into 3 classes and operators need to meet certain requirements and adhere to the permitted number of gambling machines allowed for each category.

Hungarian gambling sector has been considered “inhospitable” to foreign gambling operators for quite some time, which provoked foreign operators attempt at illegally providing their services in the country.

Overview

Gambling Legislation in HungaryThe year 1991 saw the establishment of the Hungarian Gambling Act, which says all casinos based in Hungary are governed in accordance with the aforementioned Act. For the time being, Game of Chance, Plc is the leader on the Hungarian gambling market. It is regulated by the government, although there are several smaller gaming companies that are privately run.

As for remote gambling options, Hungary-based players are enabled to try them out without violating the rules as they have been legalized and government officials awarded licenses to the most reliable operators.

As reported above, Hungary gambling segment needs to deal with major issues that pose a setback to its further development. In point of fact, the situation is not that odd, given the number of countries that have the same problem. International online operators seem unwilling to accept wagers of Hungarian players. There is an alarming tendency for an increased number of players placing their bets, regardless of the restrictions and the violations they perform. Hungarian banks are not allowed to process transactions related to depositing and withdrawing betting funds.

There are a few online betting operators available on the market. They pay taxes to the government and the amount depends predominantly on the type of betting services they provide.

Szerencsejatek Zrt is the name of the Hungarian lottery, which is run by the government. It was established in the early 1990s and since then, it has been among the few gambling organizations that have been enriching their portfolio. Now, it offers sports betting, keno, lotto games, etc. Back in 2002, many of the popular games became available in online format.

After several years of standstill, Hungarian gambling matters were taken to new heights as authorities reconsidered lifting the tough restrictions and opening the gambling sector to all operators willing to become available on the regulated market.

Speaking of online gambling options, these were diversified in 2013. Since then, Hungary-based players have been enabled to participate in sports betting and casino games, while they were previously allowed to engage in card games and horse racing only.

However, online gambling options are regarded as non-liberalized, which means they can be provided only by a Hungarian operator or a concession company, which works in collaboration with the government. The concession needs to be renewed every five years and the fee was estimated at approximately $450,000 but the exact amount depends on the type of game offered. Operators pay a tax, equal to 20% of their gross gaming revenue.

Hungarian authorities have taken the illegal online betting activities seriously and took actions towards penalizing the providers that operate on the unregulated markets.

The issue, related to the ban of slot machines outside the casinos was put back on the agenda. The lack of slot machines doubled the turnover of the casinos but their insufficient number made the illegal gambling sector boost as well.

Back in 2014, the government passed a bill that enables foreign operators to apply for a license on grounds that they agree to pay the 15% tax rate.

As already reported, Hungary targeted the foreign gambling operators by lowering the taxes and removing the requirement for their physical presence in the country.
According to the previous requirements, operators were expected to have at least ten years of operation in Hungary in order to be considered “reliable” but the latest amendments set minimum experience of three years in the “country of establishment”.

Although the minimum fees have been lowered, they were still considered too high by some operators.

Online Gambling

Internet Gambling in HungaryOnline casino operators are legally allowed to provide remote gambling products and services in Hungary for a period of five years. After that, they have to apply for license renewal. They are supposed to be based in Hungary or in the European Economic Area.

Operators that violate the law by providing gambling services without being licensed, are subject to financial penalties and they risk their websites to be blocked by Hungarian ISPs.

Back in 1998, Szerencsejáték made its products available in online format and apart from that, players were enabled to place their bets via SMS.

Although online gambling sector was opened two years ago, the licensing fees still keep operators away from Hungary. Needless to say, Hungarian players can always opt for playing at foreign online casinos but the majority of them do not support Hungarian language.

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