Gambling started in Hungary more than six decades ago. The Hungarian government legalized online gambling in 1991 and the National Tax and Customs Administration of Hungary (NAV) regulates it. Online gambling has been legal since 2013 and its popularity has drastically grown in the country. In this article, we discuss the history of gambling in Hungary.
Gambling in Hungary in the Twentieth Century
Ideological and political views of gambling in Hungary started changing after World War II. At that time, the socialist ideology focused on promoting equality and was against individual enrichment. Gamblers couldn’t play online slots at that time. The ideology played a key role in the abolishment of different forms of gambling except horse betting. Many people considered it as being deviant even though it was for another ideological view.
The Toto Pools was passed in 1947 to raise funds needed to prepare athletes for the 1948 Olympics, as they needed money to travel to London. The country reintroduced the National Lottery in 1957. Its popularity grew fast as it didn’t compel stakeholders to enforce equality. Also, its monthly draws offered players an opportunity to acquire luxury goods that were hard to access in the socialist system. These included cars, domestic appliances, flats, and villas.
The History of Land-Based Casinos
Queen Maria Teresa Habsburg introduced a monopoly in Hungary’s gambling industry. The law focused on lotteries. Horse racing and card games became famous in the nineteenth century. Countess Istvan Szechenyi opened National Casino, the first Hungarian land-based casino in 1827. Casino Sopron is the oldest Hungarian casino today. Casinos Austria AG and Szerencsjatek Zrt opened it in 1989.
A private casino operator opened Las Vegas Casino in 1992 in the hotel Sofitel Budapest. Szerencsejáték opened Casino Tropicana in Budapest in 2000. The Gambling Supervision Department from the Central Bureau of the Tax and Financial Control Administration started controlling the Hungarian gambling market on January 1, 2007. It was renamed as the National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV) in 2011.
The law allows gamblers who are above 18 years to access different casinos. But, they need to register on the first visit. Also, casino operators need to pay about 680,000 euros to get an operating license in Hungary. Two of the country’s legal brick-and-mortar casinos are in Budapest while one is based in Sopron. They operate throughout the day and offer American roulette, poker, slot machines, and blackjack.
Online Casinos in Hungary
The Szerencsejáték Zrt Company dominated online gambling in Hungary before the government legalized it in 2013. The new laws allowed online casino operators to venture into the local gambling market. But, they were required to pay high license fees. Some operators couldn’t meet this obligation and many pundits were forced to gamble at international online casinos. Most of them are available in Hungarian and English. Moreover, they accept American dollars, euros, and forints.
Although gambling started being popular in Hungary in the twentieth century, the government started legalizing it in 1991. Most Hungarian casinos are based in Budapest. Hungary has relaxed some gambling laws in the past decade. This has caused a sharp increase in the number of gambling establishments operating in the nation.