Hungarian Casino and Card Room Gaming
In 2005, Hungary passed amendments to the Gambling Act including the introduction of the Category 1 "Super Casino." Only private investors could be granted a Category 1 license and offer over 100 table games and at least 1,000 gaming machines. Smaller casinos, or Category 2 establishments, could only be operated if they were majority-owned by the government or the state gambling authority. The law also doubled taxes on slot machines and restricted advertising from promoting casinos outside Hungary.
On 31 December 2006, the Gaming Board was dissolved and their duties moved to the Hungarian Tax and Financial Control Administration (APEH). The Supervisor of Gambling department responsibilities included: authorizing games, auditing game operators and organizers, and necessary record keeping.
Poker is very popular in Hungary, where it remained unregulated until 2010, with many poker rooms and card clubs throughout the country. The 2010 law limited poker games to licensed casinos and poker clubs and set a maximum limit of 10 tables per location. The tax rate on poker was set at 25%, which had the detrimental effect of driving players into illegal poker clubs and other countries to avoid paying such high taxes.
In fall 2012, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced a ban on slot machines in pubs, bars and restaurants, now only to be allowed in Hungary’s three casinos. The concern is that the changes are likely to increase government control over gambling in Hungary, putting it under the auspices of Szerencsejatek. The approximately 5,000 machines were deactivated in October 2012, and casino revenue jumped in the immediate months following the implementation of the ban.
In July 2013, Hungary passed new gambling regulations and pledged to issue 10 new casino licenses. Operators that want to enter the Hungarian gambling market will be assigned five-year licenses and will be required to pay a fee of roughly USD 450,000 per game type offered, as well as having to pay a 20% tax on gross gaming revenues.
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