When Hungary decided to impose a ban on slot machines outside casinos back in October, it was expected that the country’s regulated casinos would stand to benefit from the edict while all the pubs and business establishments that were no longer allowed to have slots in their premises would have some adverse effects on their businesses.
According to the state-owned gambling monopoly Szerencsejatek, revenue numbers in Hungarian casinos increased significantly after the country imposed the law in October 2012. For the year, two of the casinos Szerencsejatek owns – it owns the Tropicana and has a minority stake in Casino Sopron with business partner Casinos Austria – generated a revenue of HUF 2.7 billion, around EUR 9 million based on current exchange rates. That number represented a 35 percent increase from its numbers in 2011 when its revenue totaled just under HUF 2 billion.
Only three casinos are open in Hungary and while the figures for the privately-owned third casino, Las Vegas Casino, have not been made public, the belief is that it also reported a significant revenue increase in 2012 compared to its figures from a year ago.
The increased revenue can also be attributed to the growing number of slot machines available in the respective casinos. Since the ban was imposed on non-casino establishments, the Tropicana, for one, saw the number of its slot machines almost double to 86 from 44. Meanwhile, Casino Sopron has 60 slot machines while Las Vegas Casino has 65 of its own.
Equally important to the improved revenue figures among the casinos that was caused by the slots ban on non-casino establishments was the noticeable increase in traffic, something Szerencsejatek estimated to have increased from around 250 daily visitors to 400 daily visitors, particularly after the state made the amendments to Hungarian gambling laws.