When you mention Hungary to your friends in the iGaming industry it’s likely they’ll come out with quite the long line of stories. Dancing on the tables of any club that will have them and strip clubs until 6am would probably be way up there. From that we can construe that the Hungarians are a fun bunch who probably like to have a gamble every once in a whole. Unfortunately, like many countries the government has been slow to react and are only now thinking about regulation.
In August it was already reported that they were considering it, due to the fact that illegal online gambling already takes an estimated 100 billion forints per year. National dailies in the country are currently rather scathing at the state of gambling in the country though.
Operating legally is the lottery company Szerencsejatek. Gabor Nemeth, commercial director, told Magyar Nemzet that: “The [Hungarian] internet gambling market is estimated to be worth anything between 10 billion and 100 billion forints.”
He also added that his company took around 154 million forints in 2009. To give you an idea £1 is around 329 forint, so the market is worth anything from around £30million to £300million.
The Hungarian administration is looking to ban any foreign operators in favour of local ones, and is proposing to impose fines for advertising of foreign sites. They could even resort to a controversial IP blocking scheme, something that will not be popular with anyone.
For the time being foreign operators will continue to take bets from Hungarians that want to gamble and there’s really F all the Hungarian authorities can do about it.