Hungary Implements New Amendments to Gambling Regulations

Published April 18, 2023 by OCR Editor

Hungary Implements New Amendments to Gambling Regulations

Hungary has recently introduced new amendments to its gambling regulations, affecting the gambling act of 1991. These changes aim to enhance the regulation and oversight of the gambling industry in Hungary, covering areas such as licensing, taxation, and player protection. With the implementation of these amendments, Hungary is taking steps toward shaping the future of its gambling landscape to secure a safer and more transparent gambling climate for all stakeholders involved.

Hungary has recently implemented new amendments to its gambling regulations, aiming to end the state monopoly on sports betting by Szerencsejáték Zrt and replace it with a competitive licensing process. These changes, called "technical measures and reforms," also focus on consumer protection within the re-regulated gambling industry.

These regulatory amendments are part of a process that began in 2017 when the European Union's Court of Justice deemed Hungary's original gambling act as unlawful. In February 2022, new legislation was introduced to reform regulation based on the laws of neighboring European states.

Effective January 1st, 2023, further amendments were implemented, requiring operators to have at least five years of experience offering online gaming services in the European Economic Area to obtain authorization from SZTFH, the Supervisory Authority for Regulatory Affairs. The law also prohibits awarding licenses to operators involved in broadcasting unlicensed gaming within five years of the application date.
The new legislation also establishes an application fee of HUF10m, a licensing fee of HUF600m, and a minimum share capital requirement of HUF1bn. In addition, licensed operators are also subject to a supervision fee of 2.5% and a gaming tax of 15% of gross gambling revenue, with a total cap of HUF10m for the supervision fee.

In addition to these economic changes, adopting the new regulations also introduces technical amendments, such as allowing players to use multiple balances with the same operator and enabling early cash-outs in appropriate circumstances, subject to the same laws governing the payment of winnings. It is also mandatory for licensed operators to explicitly inform players about the increased risk of excessive gambling and addiction associated with the early cash-out feature, with clear communication required on all promotional texts and gambling websites.

Currently, only Szerencsejáték Zrt, the former owner of the gambling monopoly in Hungary, has been granted a license, along with 3 land-based casinos. No other online retailers have received approval yet, making it too early to determine the full impact of these amendments on the gambling industry's landscape in Hungary and whether they will bring significant changes or just a re-configuration of existing components.

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