Hungary is particularly appealing to tourists due to its beautiful architecture, numerous mineral springs, and, last but not least, Lake Balaton. Being in such a region implies that the country has a great opportunity to boost its economy by providing various forms of entertainment to its visitors, including different forms of gambling. However, it seems that this is not such a priority for local authorities, since casino games and sports betting are legal, but both players and operators face significant limitations.
We will go over the relevant legislation in greater detail later in this article. For now, we will just say that the brands that have managed to overcome all the legislative obstacles and unfavorable conditions, provide players with a service that is comparable in quality to the best practices in the sector, especially when it comes to online casinos.
Casino Sites in Hungary
Hungarian players either stick to locally licensed platforms or run after gaming activities outside the country through foreign online casinos. The sites accept the Hungarian Forint or Euro as an alternative and offer a plethora of fascinating casino bonuses to gambling aficionados.
Best Casino Bonuses in Hungary
Since the majority of platforms operating in the Hungarian gambling market offer similar conditions in terms of gaming libraries and payment methods, the only way to stand out from the competition is through enticing promotional offers. Although the legislation is quite restrictive, it makes no mention of bonus provision, so local players can enhance their experience with the full range of casino bonuses available in other parts of the world. Here are the most popular options:
Welcome promo packages
Typically, sign-up bonuses include some sort of deposit match, either for the initial deposit at the casino or for the first 3, 4, or 5 deposits. To sweeten the deal, some gambling operators combine that cash bonus with free spins, which are among the players’ favorite perks. Typically, the more appealing the respective prize is, the more wagering requirements are imposed on gamblers, making the bonus more difficult to obtain. The main issues that Hungarians should keep an eye on are wagering requirements, expiration period, and game restrictions (if any).
Cashback bonuses pay back a percentage of your net losses over a set period of time. That percentage varies depending on the casino policy but is usually between 5% and 25%. It is good to read the bonus rules in advance, because some platforms automatically add the cashback to your balance, while others require explicit activation (with or without a special code) on your part.
Loyalty systems are implemented on iGaming platforms to reward players with comp points for wagering real money on the respective website. These points can be converted into bonus funds, more advantageous payouts, entry into exclusive tournaments, and so on. The higher the level reached, the more lucrative the resultant benefits.
Casino Regulation in Hungary
Based on the 1991 Law on Organizing Gambling Activities, gambling has been legal in Hungary since 1991. Previously, the country was a part of the Soviet Union, where those kinds of services were mostly prohibited. The National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV) is in charge of regulating the casino industry in Hungary (both land-based and online).
Following the collapse of the Communist regime, the gambling industry in the country was legalized but completely monopolized by a state-owned enterprise (Szerencsejáték Zrt). Only in 2013 did the local government feel compelled to relax its restrictions and allow offshore providers to operate in Hungary. However, this liberalization is only on the surface, as the government requires huge fees and taxes, as well as conditions that are difficult to satisfy, thus discouraging most international gambling brands from pursuing a Hungarian license.
The number of online casinos holding a Hungarian license is fairly limited and the reason for this is very simple. Only brick-and-mortar casinos are eligible to apply for online casino licenses. Not that offshore brands are expressly prohibited from applying for the latter, but the procedure is extremely cumbersome and slow. Another option is for a local casino to form a joint venture with a foreign operator and act as its branch in the country. According to the Gambling Act though, the number of land-based establishments is fixed at 11 which means that Hungarian casino players cannot expect much variety.
However, the situation is not as bad as it appears. Our research revealed that the number of international online gambling platforms that accept users from Hungary is not small at all. In practice, this results in local players having access to an unlimited abundance of online games and tempting casino bonuses. The only minor drawbacks are that such websites are rarely available in Hungarian and do not always support transactions in the local currency.
New Online Gambling Regulation
After a long period of passivity, the Hungarian Parliament adopted an amendment bill to the Hungarian gambling act in 2022, reforming the regulatory oversight of remote gambling. One of the goals of the amended Act is to emphasize the importance of preventing unlicensed remote gambling operators from operating in Hungary. The competent authorities now have the power to order that data relating to illegal gambling operations published via an electronic telecommunications network be rendered temporarily inaccessible.
Changes were made after the CJEU ruled that Hungary’s legislation illicitly excluded operators licensed in the EU/EEA from the country’s licensing process. A multi-licensing model is introduced by the amended Gambling Act. After obtaining a license from the Supervisory Authority of Regulatory Affairs, EEA companies will be able to provide online sports betting services to users in Hungary (SARA). Remote gambling is only permitted through a branch that is based and registered in the country.
Regrettably, the operation of online casino games will continue to be restricted to holders of national land-based casino authorizations. The regime remains unchanged in this industry sector, despite the fact that, according to the CJEU, it contradicts EU law because it restricts the freedom to provide services within the Union.
The Draft Laws are expected to go into effect on January 1, 2023.
It is still unclear what effect the new laws will have on gambling taxation, but there is currently no tax on gambling winnings. Lottery is the only exception with a 16%-24% tax deducted from total winnings. At least until the new regulations come into force, the taxation for casino operators is as follows:
- Annual net gambling revenue below HUF 10 billion – 30%
- Annual net gambling revenue above HUF 10 billion – HUF 3 billion + 10% of the revenue above 10 billion
How does a Match Bonus function?
Casino match bonuses are the most common type of welcome offer that online gambling platforms provide. Players are given a bonus amount if they deposit money, usually slightly above the minimum deposit limit. Depending on its maximum prize amount, one such bonus may cover several consecutive deposits. Before you can withdraw any winnings, you need to have met a certain wagering requirement, the specific dimensions of which are mentioned in the relevant casino no deposit bonus rules.
Do online casinos in Hungary offer free spins?
As stated in the main body of this article, any restrictions that local gamblers face do not apply to casino bonuses. Free spins are so-called because they never cost anything. They let you make some additional reel spin at no extra charge and win real money. You can get free spins by playing most slots available or as a reward or bonus from your casino of choice.
Are mobile casinos safe for Hungarian players?
When it comes to safety and fairness, it makes no difference whether you use the gambling platform’s desktop or mobile version as long as it is fully licensed. Mobile players even have an advantage – they can make use of the Touch ID or Face ID functionality of their device and thus add one more layer of protection to their betting experience.
How do progressive jackpots accumulate?
The jackpot amount grows with every spin of the slot machine. It is a common practice that several online slot games are linked which leads to the prize sum increasing more quickly as more players are contributing with their wagers. Some jackpots exceed one million euros, but keep in mind that winning one is extremely difficult.
What is the penalty if I am detected playing at an online casino that is not licensed in Hungary?
Although the Gambling Act specifically prohibits unlicensed operators from providing any casino products, it does not contain punitive provisions for players. The only inconvenience you may face is if the authorities intercept and disrupt the offshore platform’s signal while you are playing. This of course rarely happens, but it is still good to keep in mind.