Hungary imposes ban on slot machines outside casinos

Hungary FlagThe Hungarian government, in an effort to curb gambling habits among its citizens, has decided that there are no more place for slot machines in the country’s pubs, bars, and cafes.

Yes, no more slots in places that aren’t regulated casinos. The new law, which will more or less enacted in the coming weeks after the parliament inevitably approves it, will not only prohibit new slot machines from being installed in non-regulated places, but the existing slot machines that have already been in place will be removed and sent to God-knows-where.

In deciding to ban slots outside casinos, the Hungarian government’s rationale is pretty straightforward: they believe Hungarians, particularly those that don’t have the disposable income to do so, gamble too much.

The government admits that banning slots outside casinos will put a dent on tax revenues that have been valued at around $135 million a year, but nevertheless, they’re confident that all money lost will be made up in other avenues, particularly the taxation of online gaming.

According to Janos Lazar, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, also told reporters that part of the reason for the ban on slot machines stemmed from national security risks. Lazar didn’t provide any additional details on that justification, which pretty much leaves it to a wide range of interpretation.

In any case, this ban on slot machines on pubs and cafes will be a huge dent in the revenue of these businesses. We would’ve hoped that there would be an alternative resolution that would allow these businesses to keep their slots while the government finds another measure to address their goal of curbing gambling among Hungarians.

If for nothing else, this new ban on slot machines isn’t fair to all the business owners who rely on the revenue these slot machines generate for their respective businesses.