Internet gambling in Hungary is already popular and ever getting more-so. Never-the-less, Hungarians are only permitted to bet at Szerencsejáték, the national lottery company legally monopolizing the market. Moreover, Hungarian banks are forbidden from processing payments to other internet gambling sites.
The internet, however, is a rapidly changing environment. There are always new online gambling sites ready to serve Hungarian players regardless of Hungarian gambling laws. Outside of Hungarian jurisdiction, the government can’t prosecute them and it may take a long time before the banks realize they can’t legally transfer funds.
In the interim, Hungarians keep gambling and currency leaks out of the country. Commercial Director of Szerencsejáték Gabor Nemeth estimated this market is “worth anything between 10 billion and 100 billion forints”. He suggested it was probably closer to the upper end of this spectrum because in 2009 the revenue of Szerencsejáték was 154 billion forints.
Speaking for APEH’s (Adó- és Pénzügyi Ellenőrzési Hivatal, i.e, Hungarian Tax and Financial Control Administration) gambling-supervision department, Kriztian Molar, the department head expressed a belief that working out a national strategy to “supervise” (i.e., profit from) wagering is overdue.
This will be difficult because the online gambling sites operating in Hungary are all licensed in and serving from foreign countries. Within Hungary, it is only possible to obstruct access to the websites and their payment processors, as well as censor gambling website advertisements.
A second problem, affecting both land-based and internet betting in Hungary is wagering on association football (soccer). Recently, the game has been caught up in numerous gambling scandles. The Hungarian Soccer Federation and Szerencsejáték must work together to sanitize the country’s football.