Online Gambling Laws
Lawmakers in Budapest voted on the new Hungarian gambling law today, introducing government concessions on all online casino games and sports betting, thereby also ending the state’s monopoly on most forms of gambling.
Approved by 235 votes in favor and 69 against, the new regulations enable operators to apply for five year licenses to run online sportsbooks, online poker rooms or online casinos in Hungary.
While the law does allow any company to hold all three licenses, each of them is priced at around EUR 325,000 a year, which the industry has so far been less than enthusiastic about. Concerns are that the Hungarian market simply does not have the profit potential to justify the costs.
Furthermore, the tax rate has been set at 20% and unlicensed foreign sites can now be blocked. Players are exempt from income taxes on their winnings.
As the legislators were pushing the buttons, another long standing issue made its return into Hungarian gambling news.
As announced by investors, the so called Eurovegas project, a planned EUR 300 million casino resort construction in northwestern Hungary, has suffered yet another delay.
Originally delayed by the financial crisis, the opening date was first set for 2011, then moved further into the future. The latest holdup is due to the original investors’ decision to opt for bond financing instead of taking out a loan.
While this option costs less, it also takes more time and essentially precludes any construction work this summer. Following the terms of the license granted by the government in 2006, the continuous postponement has already cost the investors around EUR 13 million in indemnity fees.
A New Champion
Last but not least, a Hungarian poker player secured the nation’s fourth WSOP bracelet in the tournament’s history, taking home USD 345,000 as a result.
Norbert Szecsi participated in final table Event #42: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em, competing against other newcomers. Having only one opponent with prior WSOP final table experience, and no gold bracelet winners to play against in this event, certainly opened the field for fresh pretenders to the throne.
Underscoring the significance of the 22-year-old Hungarian’s achievement is the fact that both the UK and France has yet to produce a WSOP winner this year.