For many decades during the Cold War period, Hungary was heavily under Soviet rule and gambling was strictly prohibited. This, in turn, created a vast underground black market that was operated by various illegal groups.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Hungary became one of the first ex-Soviet countries to officially legalize gambling, and now Hungarians have total access to many local and international websites that offer everything from sports betting to casino games, including the chance to take advantage of all the casino and Olvasson sport ajánlatainkról available.
In this article, we will cover how Hungary’s laws have formed the gambling landscape in the country over the last 30 years and what we expect to see in the future.
In 1991, Hungary officially legalized gambling. However, to claim the monopoly on this lucrative business, the new law stated that all sports betting must be done through a state-run enterprise. This resulted in the national lottery service, Szerencsejáték Zrt, becoming the obvious choice to run the sports betting market.
At first, punters could only place bets at official bookmakers on the high street. This lasted until 1998 when Szerencsejáték Zrt opened its internet site-a a site that remains to this day as the only truly legal sportsbook in Hungary.
In 2004, when Hungary joined the EU, many international companies took this as a good sign that the country would be willing to open up to bookmakers from across the bloc.
Sadly, however, this was not the case and in late 2004, UK-based sports betting site Sportingbet got fined 500,000 forints for operating a site in Hungary.
Sportingbet claimed they had adhered strictly to EU laws that permitted international betting companies to offer their services to other EU nations. However, Hungary would not budge on the issue.
This stubbornness continued for many years, and in 2006, with the rise of online gambling making it difficult to block every site, the government of Hungary appealed to their national banks to block transactions to any online betting platform.
Domestic and international pressure grew over the issue and finally, in 2013, the government caved in and issued new laws allowing foreign companies to provide their services in Hungary.
Although this wasn’t as simple as it seemed, as foreign companies would need to pay $440,000 for access to the Hungarian market, many of the higher-revenue international sportsbooks have launched Hungarian language versions of their sites and seem to be doing well.
The 2020s and the Grey Market
Although these sites are technically legal, Hungary still tries to block many of them, or impose huge taxes on those that are operating in the country. However, this does little to deter many of the larger sports betting sites, and the industry continues to grow in the country.
The market is still unregulated, and so it is deemed somewhat of a “grey market,” but many sites such as Bet365, William Hill, and Unibet all continue to operate in the country as the market is slowly becoming more open.
Across the EU, many countries have tried to restrict access to betting sites in the past, but to no avail—including Hungary. However, it looks like the government has finally accepted that this is a valid industry and one that looks set to continue its upward trend, and so resulting in more taxes helping to move the nation forward.
All in all, it looks like a bright future for sports betting in Hungary, and regular users look set to enjoy their passion in a freer, more open market.