Today is : Tuesday,30th Nov 2021

Playing online slots, internet poker in Hungary: Gambling laws and reality

A brief look at the legal status of gambling in Hungary, whether at online casinos or in bricks-and-mortar poker rooms. In short, it's all in a gray area...

The state of gambling in Hungary – online or in licensed providers – is fairly restrictive at present and, as in many areas of Hungarian life, the online slots, poker and sportsbook industry sits firmly in a legally gray area.

The Gambling Act of 1991 was remarkably conservative in an area of post-Communistic "opening up." Essentially, only fruit machine-type games were allowed to be played, and clubs given license to do so were few. One or two such slot machines can be found in quite a few pubs throughout the country, but it’s hardly casino gambling. Lottery and sports betting is allowed, but only at licensed shops run by the government.

Once online casinos came to the internet, the law in Hungary stated somewhat vaguely that it was illegal for its citizens to play online casino slots, poker, sportsbook, etc. This law had about as much success as can be seen in most other countries doing the same, i.e. very little at all.

When the poker craze came to Hungary in the mid- to late 2000s, poker clubs were opened and enjoyed great success … until again conservatism came into play in 2010. These clubs were essentially taxed out of existence, thanks to a law that stated that all poker winnings (private or house) would be taxed at 30% and clubs could only intake 15% of their total earned revenues.

Meanwhile, gambling on online slots, poker and sportsbook bets continue in Hungary, with exactly zero criminal arrests from internet casino play recorded. Perhaps the country will adopt a licensing procedure for legal online casino portals and poker rooms similar to those sweeping the European Union right now, but the current conservative government doesn’t exactly buoy hopes for this possibility, even if the central government is thirsting for income streams.

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