Hungary is a Central European country that has legalized all forms of gambling. The country's legislation clearly regulates the rules of the gambling industry for both land-based establishments and the online segment. The largest gambling operator in Hungary is Szerencsejatek. Until 2012, it was the country's gambling monopoly and owned by the state. Since 2012, the legislation regulating gambling has been significantly changed.
They have expanded the opportunities for online PayPal casinos. Online casinos with PayPal are legal in Hungary. It is regulated by the Gambling Act of 1991 and subsequent amendments. The monopoly to open PayPal online casinos belongs to the state, but in recent years there have been global changes and independent companies can also establish casinos. In order to develop the resource, it is necessary to obtain the appropriate concession.
The period of validity of the license for the organization of online resources is 5 years. This allows casinos to legally offer players their online games, bonus offers in PayPal casinos
Gambling legislation in Hungary
The process of legalizing gambling in Hungary started in 1991, when modern laws regulating the gambling market were passed:
● Act No. 34 "On Gambling", the most important law regulating gambling business in both land-based establishments and online resources;
● Law No. 16 "On Concession", which ensures the state the exclusive right to provide gambling services.
The first provider in the country was the mentioned state-owned company Szerencsejatek. After obtaining the monopoly right to provide gambling services, it was initially responsible for managing lotteries. Control of the sports betting market was taken over by TippMix.
In 2005, the Hungarian Minister of Finance signed Decree No. 32, which sets out the regulations for the licensing and control of games of chance. The country continued to pursue a monopoly policy. Foreign gambling companies from other countries could not enter the Hungarian market. The situation started to change in 2006, when the owners of Sportingbet.com asked for assistance from the European Commission. Already the following year, Hungary received a reminder to open the market. Therefore, the state authorities were forced to consider changing the legislation.
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Hungarian Gambling Regulatory Authority
The responsibility for regulating the gambling market lies with the Gambling Regulatory Agency, which is part of the Hungarian Tax and Customs Administration. The tasks of the agency are:
● Licensing of gambling companies;
● Control of operators' activities and compliance with applicable legislation;
● Maintenance of registers, audits;
● Detection of irregularities in the activities of operators;
● Conducting appropriate investigations;
● Imposing fines and sanctions;
● Suppression of the activities of unauthorized companies.
The administration cooperates with the National Public Relations Authority and the National Consumer Protection Authority. The Ministry of National Economy is responsible for legislation in the gambling sector.
Activities subject to licensing and conditions for obtaining licenses
All types of gambling activities are subject to licensing in Hungary:
● Card games (poker);
● Betting (sports or other events);
● Land-based and PayPal online casino activities;
● Slot machines;
● Various types of lotteries, including bingo, keno, joker.
However, the organization of land-based casinos and poker clubs is still a state monopoly in Hungary. In other words, these activities can be carried out either by state-owned companies established specifically for this purpose or by companies that have obtained a concession.
Today, there are 9 land-based casinos in Hungary:
● Sopron Casino in Sopron;
● Win Gyor;
● Grand Casino in Debrecen;
● Onyx in Nyiregyhaza;
● Las Vegas Casino Atlantis, Las Vegas Casino Atrium EuroCenter, Las Vegas Casino Corvin, Las Vegas Casino Sofitel, Tropicana Casino in Budapest.
Private companies also have the right to operate gambling halls. Entrepreneurs who want to open a gambling club must:
1. Register a company with authorized capital of at least EUR 400,000. The company may engage in only one type of activity;
2. To obtain a certificate from the department.
3. Choose premises that meet the requirements and hire staff.
4. Purchase and install gambling machines that are not older than 5 years from the date of manufacture.
5. Obtain a license for gaming machines and a gaming hall. The validity period of a department certificate is 1 year. The document is issued within 30 days from the date of application.
The licenses themselves are also divided into several categories:
● Group 1 slot machines - machines that are able to generate at least 80% of the bet per 100,000 games, but not more than 200 of each bet;
● Group 2 machines - video slot machines capable of accepting no more than 200 conventional units at a time and "spending" a win of no more than 25 times the respective stake.
Each slot in Hungary must be certified. For this purpose, slots must meet a number of requirements:
● They must not be used for more than five years from the date of manufacture;
● Have production numbers and built-in controls.
To open a hall, you need an area of at least 90 square meters: 75 for the installation of slot machines and 15 for the establishment of the bar. The condition of the premises is confirmed by a professional assessment of the City Hall. The tax rate is made up of several components:
● The tax on slot machines;
● Residence tax;
● 10-30% of the net income. The amount of this tax depends on the profitability of the establishment.
● Measures to protect the rights of players
The government regulation provides for such measures to protect players:
1. Licensed gambling operators are required to inform their customers about the adverse effects and risks of gambling addiction.
2. Players can restrict their visits to one or more land-based gambling establishments with a license for days, weeks, or months.
3. Players can exclude themselves from online resources with PayPal in Hungary with a license. They cannot make payments from their accounts, access virtual sites, or receive advertising and marketing messages.
4. Minors are not allowed to play in Hungarian casinos.
5. A gambling operator with a license is obliged to partially fund an organization that provides services for the prevention or treatment of gambling addiction.
6. The Player Protection Register includes individuals who have restricted their access to facilities themselves or by court order.
If an online casino with PayPal payment method
in Hungary operates without a license and violates the law, the provider blocks the service provider by blacklisting it. The maximum fine is HUF 100 million (about EUR 300,000) plus confiscation of materials, devices and equipment used for illegal gambling. Advertisers with a license can be jointly liable (advertiser and service provider) for illegal advertising if they run rotating spots from operators who do not have a Hungarian license. The maximum fine in this case is HUF 10 million (EUR 30,000).
Online Casinos in Hungary
The first licensed PayPal online casino in Hungary, Vegas Portal, was opened only in February 2017. The site is owned by LVC Diamond. The collection of slot machines includes models from well-known developers: Microgaming, iSoftBet and Play'n GO. In April, the casino with PayPal signed a cooperation agreement with Greentube. This gave Hungarian players access to the popular slot machines Sizzling Hot, Book of Ra, Lucky Lady's Charm and others from the manufacturer.
In addition, users can play roulette, video poker, blackjack, and table games with live dealers at online casinos with the PayPal payment method. The site also offers a good selection of other popular payment methods. Credit cards and prepaid cards, bank transfers, and popular e-wallets such as Skrill, Neteller, and others are available for transactions.
Prospects for the development of the Hungarian gambling industry
It is quite difficult to predict how successful the development of gambling in the country will be. The opinions of experts differ. On the one hand, many Hungarian citizens have mixed feelings about the development of gambling. The mass media operate the appropriate policy of shaping public opinion. Thematic broadcasts often deal with the negative impact of gambling on mental health. But it is clear to everyone that one must have self-control and that it is safe to gamble. In addition, market participants point to quite strict licensing conditions and high costs of organizing activities.
However, there are also positive factors. Reputable operators PayPal online casinos are making efforts to change the situation. An example of this is the casino with PayPal Vegas.hu. Its owner has managed not only to open an online portal, but also to attract well-known partners. Considering the fact that the opened site is one of the few that offer a Hungarian interface, one can predict its high popularity.
Moreover, the Hungarian authorities have once again received the relevant recommendations from the European Union to amend the current legislation. As a result of Unibet's complaint about "discrimination and non-transparent laws", the EU has recommended new amendments to the Gambling Act of 1991. The Hungarian government has followed this advice once. The operators hope for a positive outcome this time as well.
To sum up, Hungary is a country where gambling in general and online casinos with PayPal
in particular are legalized, but with strict requirements to the organization of gambling. However, given the changes in the market in recent years, one can predict a more favorable and dynamic development of the industry in the future.