A proposed amendment to the Hungarian Gambling Act has been submitted to the Parliament on 16 June by an MP of the majority party.
According to the reasoning of the proposal, the aim is the more detailed regulation of online casino and card games (mainly technical provisions), but there some significant changes also.
The proposal would only allow two online casinos to be granted a licence by the Gambling Authority. The effective Gambling Act does not contain such a restriction, i.e. all 7 land-based casino house concession holders couldtheoretically be granted a remote casino and card gambling licence.
If the proposal was passed by Parliament as submitted by the MP then another significant change would be that concession holders of land-based casino houses would also be entitled to provide remote sports betting services, and not only the state-owned Gambling Plc. It is unclear why, but the reasoning of the proposal does not refer to this change.
It has to be noted however, that the proposal is a very poorly drafted piece of legislation, being unclear and containing several contradictions and incoherencie; therefore it is unlikely that the Parliament will adopt the proposal without amendments.
The Parliament will debate the proposal on its plenary meeting on 22-23 June, and should the proposal be adopted by the Parliament, then the amendment of the Gambling Act would become effective on 1 September 2015.
On 27 November 2014, the Hungarian lawmaker already significantly restricted the remote gambling market, by prescribing that:
- only the state-owned Gambling Plc may provide remote sport betting services, and
- only the concession holders of land-based casino houses may obtain a licence for remote casino and card games.
According to press information, the Government does not intend to grant any further concessions to land-based casino houses, thus no new market player may enter the remote casino and card games market.
In addition, the Hungarian Gambling Authority continues to block remote gambling webpages, and to fine the operators thereof, and no change in its practice is in sight.