The Hungarian parliament has introduced online gaming legislation that will open up the market to private operators and end to the current state-controlled monopoly on sports betting.
Operators based within the European Economic Area will be free to launch iGaming offerings in the country, with no limit to the number of available permits yet stated by the Hungarian regulator. The main barrier will be the stipulation that any operator who, in the 10 years preceding application, has offered unlicensed iGaming within Europe, will be prohibited from operating in Hungary.
Each operator seeking to apply for a licence must pay the Hungarian State Treasury a licence fee of €1.7m and have minimum share capital of €2.8m. Operators will also have to provide a minimum guarantee of HUF250m (around €700,000). No tax implications have yet been revealed, but players will be allowed to use credit cards to make online deposits, provided they are linked with an authorised payment service provider.
The new legislation is intended to ensure a higher standard of player protection, and the draft Bill states that operators must present a Player Protection Plan. “In a liberalised online betting market, several private companies are competing with each other, so there is a danger of encouraging excessive gambling instead of maximising the principle of responsible gaming. Therefore, the draft aims to liberalise remote gambling by emphasising the protection of players and introducing guarantee regulatory elements that protect the interests of players” states the text.
The Bill is subject to a standstill period following its notification to the European Commission, which runs until May 4th.