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Online gambling in Hungary being legalized

Good progress is being made on the Hungarian government's move away from a monopolistic gambling regime to a more open market, with drafting reportedly well advanced, and the government open to approaches from reputable companies interested in licensing.

Historically gambling, including limited online wagering, has been the sole prerogative of the state monopoly Szerencsejáték Zrt, but the latest proposals are that foreign operators who can meet stringent requirements will be able to apply for licensing.

The change of policy can at least in part be attributed to pressure from the European Commission.

Earlier this month Szerencsejáték Zrt put out tenders for a complete online gambling platform capable of providing both internet based gambling as well as online sports book action in Hungary. Bids are only accepted from established companies with a proven track record capable of delivering a complete all inclusive solution within one scalable package.

Bids will be accepted until May 16, 2011, with the top three lowest bids made public on June 3. The winning bid will be announced on June 6. Many international and domestic casino developers are expected to bid on delivering the casino platform in order to be the company with the easiest access to the Hungarian gambling market.

According to the IBLS, online gambling in Hungary is treated as a service, and any such service, through any mode of communication equipment or networks, is required to be carried out under the provisions of Act XXXIV of 1991. A complicated gaming tax using sliding scales of NGR is applicable to income derived from casinos, money-winning and gambling machines, draws, and continuously organised totaliser-type betting. The mode of application of the tax and its rate vary widely.

Online gambling, especially poker and sports betting, is popular with Hungarian punters. A large foreign online sports book operator recently entered talks with the Hungarian government to get into the market, but the current position in these negotiations is not known.

Source: InfoPowa News

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