Hungary sets fees and clarifies technical rules for sports betting providers

With a ruling party majority in the Hungarian parliament, simply moving the levers of power should be enough to get any desired legislation through the political process in a normal and legal manner. But for more than 2,500 days, the government has used that absolute majority to get things done without transparent debate or other hallmarks of liberal democracy, relying instead on simple decrees to run the affairs of state.

That’s not to say that emergency powers completely block government, as seen in the online gambling industry through the lens of the country’s gambling law – something Hungary was “trying to get right” by the European Court of Justice. Union (ECJ) issued judgments in 2016 and 2017 which should urge the government not to violate the freedom to provide services (Article 56 TFEU) or not to grant anti-competitive concessions.

The Regulatory Affairs Agency (SZTFH) recently issued an executive order making minor changes to make the country’s gambling law changes work more fairly or efficiently.

Technical explanations, tariffs

Operators wishing to offer online sports betting there must meet certain financial requirements and have at least five years of experience with licensed online gambling services in a country in the European Economic Area. Any operator that has offered unlicensed gambling within five years of the application date will be rejected for license testing.

In an attempt to protect players from harm, operators may offer early withdrawals of sports betting winnings, but the operator must warn the player against immediately gratifying such an action as it could contribute to gambling addiction.

The decree says:The game provider is obliged to expressly point out to the player that the use of this function involves an increased risk of excessive gaming and addiction and that this notice appears in the advertising text in the same font size as the text.

Keep going: “The gambling provider also provides the player with information on the gambling website that using this function carries an increased risk of excessive gaming and addiction.

To facilitate early withdrawals, players can now have segmented balances instead of a master balance.

The regular conditions for other withdrawals apply to early withdrawals.

Last change history

Laws were introduced early last year to help Hungary comply with antitrust measures designed to promote a freer and more open market, as many neighboring EU nations have done. In early 2023, several conditions or technical changes were made that could apply to both casino operators and sportsbooks.

However, none of the changes relaxes control over licenses remote casinos which are still directly tied to the three most important physical operators. Although the ECJ ruled in favor Unibet In 2016, land-based casinos, which seem to open the door to other European online casino operators, can be declared a priority of national economic interest. This allowed budget items to be approved in the 2021 working sessions Extension by 35 years to casino dealers no public bidding process.

The workaround used, according to local democracy watchdogs, was to reallocate the concessions as at least half of the original concession period had expired. This should ensure the country’s income continuity in the long term.

A government-related stakeholder in the Las Vegas Casino Group is operated by Diamond Játékaszinó Üzemeltető Kft. (LVC diamond), the largest city casino operator, originally received a concession in 2015 that expired in 2024 but now lasts until 2056.

Our investigation finds no mechanism in legislative achievements or decrees that breaks the connection Online Casino Licenses in Hungary of the licenses of physical operators, so it appears that at least one operator is blocked.

LVC Diamond properties include Atlantis Casinos, Eurocenter AtriumCorvin Promenade, Sofitel and Tropicana.

Tax authority retaliates against operators for lawsuit

One thing that has reached the demand for Unibet was to uncover a CJEU ruling recognizing that Hungary’s online gambling rules did not allow the tax authority to retaliate against other EU-licensed operators as they did in response to the lawsuit filed by Unibet. Those actions included ordering ISPs to block access to the site and fines the operator and its parent company, the Kindred Group.

In short, while the process for licensing land-based casinos, and therefore their online-linked counterparts, may not meet EU standards, there is not much, if anything, to stand in the way of a Malta Gaming Authority having a licensed casino offering services there.

To date, SZTFH has not authorized any foreign operator to offer sports betting and all regulated consumer traffic continues to flow through – operated by the former and still de facto monopoly Szerencsejáték Zrt.

Spring: The Hungarian regulator implements new amendments to the gambling lawiGaming Business, March 29, 2023

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