Hard Rock Casino on Hungarian-Austrian Border Criticized

A new casino complex to be built in Hungary received criticism from environmentalists and government offices

Hungarian gambling laws - GamingZion

Europe’s largest casino project by Asamer Group and Hard Rock Group with five billion euros of investments has been launched. The engineering and construction companies, which won the rights to build the largest gambling temple in all of Europe, began to disclose concrete plans for the “Euro Vegas” of Hungary to be located in Bezenye, near the Austrian border.

Asamer, the Austrian construction conglomerate, along with American Hard Rock Group want to invest another five billion euros towards hotels, casinos and convention centers in Bezenye.

Although the planned casino is in full compliance with Hungarian gambling laws, the project met considerable opposition and criticism. The Office of the Burgenland state government and environmental groups complain that pollution from the proposed casinos will damage the fragile ecosystem and the increased traffic will be a problem to local residents.

In particular, the environmentalists worry about the fate of the Great Bustard (túzok in Hungarian), which is the country’s national bird. Túzok is not an endangered species, and for reasons unknown, decided to abandon Hungary for warmer climates in Spain where the birds are found in great number.

Traditional casinos are legal within Hungary and there are few restrictive laws regarding their construction. The construction of the Hungarian Vegas would fulfill the dreams of even the most picky gambler with its vast variety of casino games and entertainment options.

The situation with online casinos in Hungary is quite different. Online casinos are seen as unwanted competition to the state-run lottery and sports gambling monopoly, and thus are forbidden by law. The only semi-legal alternative for Hungarian players is to gamble at foreign based online sportsbooks and casinos.

There are also questions about the lack of transparency which veils the entire process of how the recipients of casino licenses in Hungary are chosen. For the Hungarian Vegas project, it appears that only the consortium of Asamer and Hard Rock Group applied for the casinos permit. This raises the question a possible ‘back-room deal’, states the Hungarian Government Control Office. Euro Vegas will only pay a billion forints (five million euros) for five casino license per year, which critics believe is far below the norm.

The Austrian and American consortium explained in a news released that the approval of the project was in no way related to Hungarian tax laws which “offer the lowest tax rates for casinos in all of western and central Europe.” The five casino licenses acquired by Euro Vegas allow for an unlimited number of electronic gambling machines and gaming tables. When the Hungarian Vegas opens its doors, the group expects 200 roulette and blackjack tables as well as 3,000 slot and video poker machines to be operating round the clock.

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