Online poker sites in Hungary may soon become lawful, at least as a legalized state monopoly.
According to Gabor Nemeth, sales director of Szerencsejatek, the Hungarian state-owned lottery company, the legal poker sites would initially operate under a state monopoly (presumably under Szerencsejatek). Never-the-less, Nemeth alleges that after some time, Hungarian gambling laws will enable private companies to join the market.
Nemeth believes online gambling, already available to Hungarians in various forms both legally and illegally, is not truly a current problem. On the other hand, a lack of government oversight presents somewhat of a quandary.
The internet gambling market has an estimated value somewhere between 10 billion HUF (47.6 million USD) and 100 billion HUF (475.7 million USD), but Nemeth has confidence this is closer to the upper end of the spectrum. Regardless, online gambling laws in Hungary are inadequate for the internet age and this revenue has been seeping out of the country.
Poker is already a popular game with growing popularity, but internet poker rooms can be difficult for Hungarian players to find. Localization may present small obstacles for some players as Hungarians may not fully understand or accept terms and conditions outside their mother tongue and few internet casinos include support for the Hungarian forint. A more serious obstruction was created by the Hungarian government in 2006. Like the American banks, Hungarian banks are currently forbidden from moving funds to and from gambling websites; so many international gambling operators simply refuse to accept Hungarian players.