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Committee established for casino license decisions

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The National Economy Ministry has established a committee to prepare for decisions on casino licenses, business daily Világgazdaság reported on Friday. The ministry told the paper that the three-member committee, headed by cabinet chief Balázs Rákossy, was mainly reviewing whether gambling industry companies had paid their taxes over the past ten years.

The ministry said a tender for the licenses would not be called yet, but noted that the amended gambling act allows companies to make offers for such licenses outside of the scope of a tender.

Lawmakers decided in December to allow the issue of eleven operating licenses for casinos. The legislation limits the number of casinos to one per 500,000 residents, meaning the number in the capital will be capped at five, while three may operate west of the Danube and three in the east of the country. Each of the casinos may operate no more than 300 slot machines.

At present, there are three casinos in Hungary: two in Budapest and one in Sopron. Local news media reported in late November that 11 cities had reported interest in casino establishment: Balatonfüred, Debrecen, Győr, Gyula, Hévíz, Miskolc, Nyíregyháza, Pécs, Szeged, Szentendre and Szombathely.

Back in October 2012, Parliament approved amendments that ban slot machines in all places with the exception of those located at casinos operating as a concession.

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