New gambling law: Double fees, no tender required

Telco

Legislation approved by Parliament this week will allow the state to choose “reliable gambling organizers” to establish casinos or other gambling houses in Hungary without calling a tender. The new procedure to determine appropriateness for a given company would assess its past reliability and compliance with regulations.

“Reliable gambling organizers” is defined within the bill as “companies … who have a transparent organizational structure, have never made a late tax payment, have never been fined more than HUF 5 million and have organized gambling activities in Hungary for at least 10 years.”

Prospective gaming providers would reportedly pay a concession fee of minimum double the current rate for such establishments. Per the proposed draft of the 2014 budget bill, the government set the minimum annual concession fee for operating category-II casinos in Hungary at HUF 377 million for those in Budapest or Pest County, and HUF 54 million for those located elsewhere in the country.

Three category-II casinos are currently operating in Hungary: Budapest’s Tropicana and Las Vegas casinos and the Casino Sopron, with nine slated to open in 2014. The central budget therefore targets HUF 2.1 billion in revenue from casino concession fees from the 12 outlets.

Revenue from gaming taxes in 2013 is forecast to reach HUF 47 billion.

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