The government of the Central European country announced its plans to introduce a complete ban on slot machines. They count on substituting the resulting HUF 30 billion (about $135 million) yearly tax loss with new levies on internet betting in Hungary.
Government spokesperson Andras Giro-Szasz announced that the government is ready to change Hungarian gambling laws after a cabinet meeting on Monday morning.
Leading politician from the governing Fidesz party, Janos Lazar stated that slot machines have a bad effect on society, going as far as saying the certain operators of gambling establishments and networks “represent a serious threat to national security”.
Lazar did not go into details describing the alleged threat, only saying “certain intentions of slot machine market players were considered risky.”
Even though the slot machines will disappear from the 10-million-country, three land casinos, operated in a government concession, will be an exemption from the rule. The authorities are expected to begin collecting the rest of the machines this year.
The parliament, with a two-third majority of the ruling party Fidesz, is scheduled to pass the law on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the new regulation being applied as early as October. Lazar explained the rush of the legislation is “to decide once and for all” the legal status of slot machines, and to prevent “certain lobbies” from influencing lawmakers.
Lazar said that the government intends to protect the “poorest and most underprivileged” people from spending their last forints on gambling.
The state-owned Szerencsejatek has a monopoly on internet betting in Hungary, and laws actually forbid Hungarians from placing wagers on foreign servers. The law also introduced a ban on bank transfers to and from foreign gambling servers.
Additionally, there are no legal online casinos in Hungary, those who seek gambling fun have to circumvent regulations and play on foreign establishments.