Hungarian gambling laws may be changing soon. As things stand right now, the government holds a monopoly on all forms of gambling. Most gambling in Hungary is regulated and taxed – except for poker. Recent weeks, however, have seen the proposal of a new Poker Law which would seek to change this by taxing poker winnings and bringing poker in line with other forms of gambling in Hungary.
According to Laszlo Keller of the Hungarian Ministry of Finance, the law may be pushed through before the end of this year. It has been brought up as a reaction to the hundreds of unregulated poker clubs that have been appearing across the country. The game is growing quite popular, and the reaction against the proposed law is expected to be strong.
Gergely Tatár, president of the Hungarian Poker Association, is critical of the proposed changes, which as they stand now are very strict. Tartár believes that new poker regulation will force players onto the internet, even though online poker sites in Hungary are rather hard to come by. Tartár proposes that a more relaxed regulation of poker clubs and a fixed poker tax table could boost the local poker industry and make the country an attractive European poker destination, ultimately generating more revenue despite keeping the poker tax rate low.
Hungary is a poker-loving nation, and has produced several professional players that participate in the global poker circuit. The best known is Denes Kalo, a former boxer, who has netted more than $2.5 million in tournament winnings. Hungarian poker players will no doubt continue to enjoy the game, though the next few months will be crucial in determining the fate of Hungary’s many poker clubs.