Hungary’s government has unveiled controversial plans to milk the gambling industry for all its worth with the poor cow on the verge of running dry.
According to Portfolio.hu, the country will implement a taxation system on the online gaming industry for the first time with Antal Rogan unveiling the plans earlier this week.
Taxation will begin in earnest from 1st January 2012 with all sites that are approved subject to a 20% tax on net revenue, similar to the system that was recently announced by Denmark. The country’s tax authority is to take responsibility for the approval of all sites with permits issued for an initial five-year period. After that, they can apply to extend for an additional five years under the premise that they’ve behaved themselves. Companies that are found to be offering services to Hungarian without a license will be subject to fines ranging from HUF 10million to HUF 100million. Whether or not the scheme to keep out unregulated operators will include IP blocking is unclear – it has been mentioned in the past though.
Legislation currently dates back to 1991 and to benefit from a market worth as much as HUF100billion, an update was clearly in order. It was originally thought the plans would be particularly favourable to local sites. The unpredictable ruling party seems to have gone back on this though agreeing that a certificate attesting iGaming experience and the company holding HUF200m in another EEA member state sufficing.
LAND-BASED SUFFERS RUDE AWAKENING
The iGaming industry got off lightly. Land-based operators were rudely awakened by plans to raise tax on machines by up to 600%. János Lázár, head of the parliamentary group, announced that monthly unit tax on gaming machines would see a 500% rise from HUF100k per machine to a huge HUF500k. If your machines happen to be inside a casino business, then the hike is 600% from HUF120k to HUF700k. Additionally, any machine that garners quarterly revenues over HUF900k is subject to a 20% levy. It makes Danish land-based complaints about state aid look rather pathetic in comparison.
Original plans, drawn up by Economy Minister György Matolcsy, were for monthly unit tax on machines to increase to HUF125k with casino machines increasing to HUF150k. One thing’s for sure – there’s little danger of the country starving after this change in taxation.