Hungary’s government is rolling out new gambling legislation. According to Portfolio.hu, the country will tax online gambling for the first time from January 1 with licensed sites subject to a 20% tax on net revenues. Hungary will issue five-year licences that may be renewed, and unlicensed operators will be subject to fines up to 100 million forints (approximately $500,000).
Legislation was expected to be favourable to local companies; however, this is not the case. For land-based operators, taxes on gaming machines will see quite the spike. János Lázár, head of Hungary’s leading parliamentary group, announced that monthly taxes on gaming machines will rise 500% to 500,000 forints. Machines inside a casino will be taxed up to 700,000 forints, a 600% rise. In addition, any machine generating more than 900,000 forints is subject to a 20% levy.
Original plans drafted by Economy Minister György Matolcsy called for monthly taxes of no more than 150,000 forints for casinos, according to The Budapest Business Journal. While we’re happy to see the end of a state monopoly and the start of an open market, the taxes on brick-and-mortar operators in particular are excessive.