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Hungary bill could privatize state lottery

A bill regulating state asset management, which could lead to the privatization of Hungary's state-owned lottery company Szerencsejáték Rt, is going before the Hungarian parliament today.

This has caused experts to warn that the government may not be able to find the support it needs to win a majority vote on the sale of the gaming company if the bill passes. "The government has decided to merge the state privatization agency ÁPV, the Central Treasury and the National Land Fund into a single company named National Asset Manager, which will take over the role of managing the state's assets," Finance Minister János Veres announced. The state monopoly has increased its turnover by nearly 70% over the past two years in the country, where average gambling revenues per resident are the highest amongst lottery companies of Central and Eastern European countries that joined the EU in May 2004. (