In February 2022, Hungary introduced legislation aiming to end the country’s sports betting state monopoly system, to be replaced with a competitive licensing process more in line with many of its neighbouring states and implemented by the SZTFH. The previous system had been ruled unlawful by the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2017.
This new regime – which was launched on 1 January 2023 – brought in a number of requirements for applicants looking to launch in the state.
Operators who wish to receive authorisation from the SZTFH must have at least five years of experience offering licensed online gaming in a European Economic Area state. The law also explicitly forbids a business from being awarded a licence if the company has been involved in broadcasting unlicensed gaming within five years of the application date.
The law established a HUF10m (£23,000/€26,000/$29,000) application fee for operators. In addition, businesses must have share capital of at least HUF1bn, pay a licence fee of HUF600m – as well as pay a supervision fee and gaming tax amounting to 2.5% and 15% of gross gambling revenue respectively. The supervision fee only applies to a maximum of HUF10m in costs.
As of today (29 March), the SZTFH has not yet approved any foreign operators to launch in Hungary, having only issued a licence to state-owned former monopoly Szerencsejáték Zrt, which operates through the Tippmixpro.hu online portal. Three Hungarian land-based casinos are also approved to offer online casino through a tethered licence.
SZTFH implements amendments
In January 2023, Hungary introduced further legislation amending the country’s Gambling Act by implementing a number of more technical changes in order to facilitate the new gaming market. Previously, the law limited a player to only one balance with an operator. Under the new rules, a consumer may have multiple balances linked to each game.
Among other changes, the legislation also allowed for businesses to provide users with the chance to cash out early if the game is designed in such a way. According to the text, cash out is to be subject to the same rules and restrictions governing the payment of winnings.
The regulator’s decree implements the newly amended Gaming Act on a state agency level. It announces a new safer gambling feature to accompany the roll-out of early cash outs in Hungary.
“The gambling operator is obliged to expressly draw the player’s attention to the fact that the use of this function entails an increased risk of excessive gambling and addiction and this information shall appear in the text of promotion in the same font size as the text,” reads the decree.
“The gambling operator shall also make available to the player on the gambling website the information that the use of that function entails an increased risk of excessive gambling and addiction.”