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Hungarian Regulator Clamps Down on Illegal Gambling Sites

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Hungary is not slowing down its efforts to eradicate illegal online gambling in its jurisdiction.

Hungarian regulator Szabályozott Tevékenységek Felügyeleti Hatóságahe (SZTFH) has resumed blocking unlicensed gambling sites and their affiliates operating in the country.

The most recent block list released by the regulator shows that 450 domains, including sports betting, online casinos, and cryptocurrency gambling platforms, have been restricted from the Hungarian market.

Some of the popular blocked sites in the list include Unibet, PokerStars, Parimatch, BetOnline, Intertops, Rabona, and Playzilla.

The regulator started blocking unlicensed sites in 2014, which led to a prolonged legal struggle between the Hungarian government and operators. In 2017, the government was prevailed upon by the Court of Justice of the European Union CJEU, which led to the lifting of all bans on EU-based operators.

Licensing Requirements

In 2023, the government chose to partially open the market to accept applications from private gambling operators and impose new bans on those lacking the license.

The licensing conditions state that applicants must have maintained a license in an EEA country within the five years before their application.

Additionally, operators seeking a Hungarian license were required to possess a minimum share capital of HUF1 billion. They will also pay an application fee of HUF10m ($29,000) and a license fee of HUF600m to the Hungarian State Treasury.

The law mandates a supervision fee capped at HUF10m and a gaming tax of 2.5% and 15% of gross gambling revenue, respectively.

No Foreign License Approved

So far, the SZTFH has not granted approval to any foreign operator to enter the Hungarian market. The regulator has only issued a sole license to the state-owned former monopoly, Szerencsejáték Zrt, which operates via the Tippmixpro.hu online portal.

Also, three Hungarian land-based casinos have received approval to offer online casino services through a tethered license.

Foreign operators like Bet365 have withdrawn from the country due to regulatory actions against unlicensed sites.

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