The Hungarian National Tax and Customs Office (NAV) returned to the locations where raids were conducted the previous year, to happily discover that the clubs have reopened. NAV raided for the second time the Miami Poker Club, located inside Budapest’s (District IX) Lurdy Haz Mall.
The Miami Poker Club has the unenviable distinction of paying the largest fine in Hungarian history (€37,300) for the violation of Hungarian gambling laws when the club was raided for the first time in November 2010.
Upon their return, agents of the NAV discovered 40 tables being used for poker cash games in clear violation of Hungarian laws. Police briefly detained and interviewed a few of the people present as suspects. Everything else that could be carried out was seized as evidence including poker tables, poker chips, and playing cards.
According to online gambling news in Hungary, Miami Poker club has been in business since the autumn of 2008, with thousands of hardcore members and hundreds of daily poker players. The mall denied any knowledge of illegal card games at the poker club.
The gambling law which came into effect this May was introduced, as the politicians readily admit, to generate additional revenues for the country’s depleted tax coffers. According to the new law, all Hungarian poker rooms must be either inside casinos or in licensed and regulated card clubs.
Each card club must have no less than five and no more than ten tables dedicated to cash poker games. Only one company is allowed per poker club. The company must have been specifically created for the purpose of organizing card games and must have a minimum of almost €10,000 invested into the poker club.
There is also a list of small infractions to make life more difficult that only a bureaucrat with nothing better to do could invent. Violators are to be punished with fines in the millions of forints and incarcerated for two years at the dreaded Budapest prison.