Gambling, casinos, slot halls and online casinos in Hungary
Land-based gambling has been legal in Hungary since 1991. Online gambling was legalized in
2013. The complete ban on slot-machines operated outside casinos resulted in the decrease of the
number of slot-machines from about 28,000 to a few hundred in the years 2012-2013.
Act XXXIV of 1991 on Gambling Operations (Gambling Act) is the main act regulating
gambling in Hungary and applies to both land-based and online gambling.
Gambling in Hungary is regulated by the National Tax and Customs Administration of Hungary
(https://en.nav.gov.hu/). Additional information concerning gambling activities can be obtained
on the Gambling Supervisory Authority's (SZK) website devoted to gambling supervision in
Land Based Gambling
After the limitation of the available casino licenses at the end of 2013, the land-based gambling
in Hungary is quite stable. In line with Hungarian regulations, eleven casinos are allowed to
operate across Hungary. Five license holders operate their casinos in seven Hungarian cities. Las
Vegas Casino Diamond operates five casinos in Budapest (https://lasvegascasino.hu/en/). The
list of licensed casinos is posted on SZF’s website (http://szf.gov.hu/adat/jatekkaszinok.html).
The casinos in Hungary have a large selection of modern and classic games. These include
poker, roulette, and blackjack. The casino sector is feeling the positive effect of the ban on street
slot machines (2012). Everyone above the age of 18 can participate in gambling activities. A
brief registration process is required. Casino guests are requested to bring a valid photo ID or a
passport. There is no specific dress code. Players are welcome in everyday wear, based on
generally accepted community standards.
There are poker rooms in major cities in Hungary. The operation of any card rooms is governed
by Act XXXIV, 1991. Five-ten players are allowed in a card room. It cannot operate within a
200-meter radius of casinos, children or educational institutions, youth clubs, and health care
facilities. The playing area is to be 16 m² per card table. Only poker games (cash and tournament
types) can be organized. The card rooms are equipped with a video monitoring system. Video
recordings are kept for 45 days in order to investigate any complaints made by players. The list
of licensed card rooms in Hungary is published on SZF’s website
The regulation of online gambling in Hungary reached the stage that it has now in 2015 when the
Hungarian Parliament adopted the amendment bill regarding the Hungarian Gambling Act in
order to reform the regulation of online gambling. All online gambling operators require a local
license to operate in Hungary. The regulator decided that online sports betting and horse-race
betting should remain a state monopoly, but online casino games could be organized by non-state
owned operators. The number of potential licensees is limited as only land-based casinos can
apply for an online license.
The legislation created the legal background for SZF to set up technical barriers (website
blocking) for unlicensed online operators. Nowadays, there are several websites that offer
betting, poker, and other gambling services to Hungarian players, even in Hungarian. These
websites, most of which are based in foreign countries, operate illegally under the Hungarian
law. Hungary aggressively expands its blacklist of illegal online operators (http://szf.gov.hu/). In
December 2017, the Hungarian Government approved amendments to its gambling legislation
that require local financial institutions to block payments to and from unauthorized gambling
sites. In March 2018, the Court of European Justice concluded that Hungary’s policy of limiting
online gambling licenses to those companies that already operate local land-based casinos
violates the EU law.
Szerencsejáték Zrt is licensed to organize and sell certain games online in Hungary. The vast
majority of online games are classified as bookmaking or casino games under the Hungarian law.
Currently, licensed bookmaking betting is only organized at https://www.szerencsejatek.hu/.
Since 2012, Szerencsejáték Zrt controls all online gambling related to sports betting. Under the
Gambling Act amended in 2015, Szerencsejáték Zrt is also allowed to offer online poker and
online casino games.
Las Vegas Casino Diamond operates the first licensed online casino in Hungary
(https://vegas.hu/en/). The operator organizes casino games which previously could be offered
only in land-based casinos.