Located in Central Europe, Hungary has been a member of the EU since 2004. But for decades, Hungary was under Soviet rule, meaning that all forms of gambling were illegal. The dissolution of the Soviet Union was a turning point for Hungary’s gambling industry. In 1991, the country officially regulated land-based gambling and sports betting activities, becoming one of the first ex-Soviet countries to regulate the industry.
The only problem was that Hungary established a state monopoly on all forms of casino gaming, sports betting, and lotteries. From 1991 to 2011, the Hungarian gambling market was subject to a monopoly held by the Szerencsejáték Zrt (Games of Chance cPLC).
In 2014, the country liberalized its online casino market and implemented strict licensing conditions. In February 2022, Hungary’s Parliament introduced new gambling legislation to end the state-run sports betting monopoly. From 1st January 2023, foreign operators within the EEA can apply for Hungarian licenses.
Best Sports Betting Sites in Hungary
Back in the day, Hungary went to great lengths to block punters’ access to unlicensed betting sites. But the country started to change its stance on the matter after the fall of the Soviet Union. In 2022, Hungarian legislators decided to open the online sports betting market to private operators under the pressure of the European Union. At the moment of writing, a decent range of reputable online sportsbooks accept bettors from Hungary.
Best Sports Betting Bonuses in Hungary
According to the Hungarian gambling law, offshore operators must obtain a license from the Gambling Authority to legally accept sports fans from this country. Hungary opened its sports betting market at the beginning of 2023, and there are still no licensed betting sites. However, many offshore sportsbooks accept Hungarian punters and treat them to generous promotions.
Match Deposit Bonus
A common sports betting promotion is the match deposit bonus. It is usually available to newcomers, but many bookmakers treat their existing bettors to reload bonuses that come in the form of match deposit bonuses. If you claim such a bonus, the sportsbook will match your deposit. Note that match deposit bonuses usually have a cap. For example, a sportsbook offers a match deposit bonus of 100% up to $100. And if you deposit $20, you will get $20 more in bonus funds.
A free bet bonus is a small amount of money that online sportsbooks usually offer to newcomers. Although punters cannot withdraw free bet credits, they can use them to place a wager without risking their funds. If the bet wins, you will collect a profit. If it loses, your real-money balance will not change.
A lot of sportsbooks geared toward the Hungarian market also offer risk-free bets. As the name of the bonus suggests, it eliminates any risk associated with wagering on sports. If you place a bet on a given sporting event and you lose, the sportsbook will refund your wager up to a certain amount.
Important Bonus Terms
All sports betting promotions come with bonus terms. Punters must meet all bonus terms before being able to cash out their profits. Most bookmakers apply wagering requirements to the bonuses they offer. Sports fans must wager the bonus funds a specific number of times to turn the bonus balance into cash. Sometimes the cumulative deposit and bonus amount is subject to the playthrough requirement.
Besides, sports fans must comply with minimum odds restrictions if they claim a bonus. Sports betting bonuses have an expiry date. Note that you may be required to make a qualifying deposit to claim a bonus.
Betting Regulation in Hungary
For many years, Hungary was under Soviet rule. As you know, gambling was outlawed in the USSR. This created a huge underground gambling market operated by illegal groups. The Soviet Union fell in 1991, and the same year, Hungary introduced Act XXXIV, legalizing gambling and sports betting. But the government decided to establish a state monopoly on all forms of gambling and sports betting. According to this piece of legislation, only a state-run enterprise can offer gambling services to Hungarians. Szerencsejáték Zrt was given exclusive rights to provide gambling services in Hungary.
In 2004, Hungary joined the European Union, and many international gambling and betting companies thought the country was willing to open its market to international operators. However, that was not the case. Hungary even fined Sportingbet for operating a site in Hungary. But the country could not block all gambling and sports betting sites, and in 2006, Hungary appealed to all national banks to stop processing gambling-related transactions.
Hungary Opens Its Online Casino Market
For several years, the EU pressured Hungary into opening its gambling market. In 2014, the ex-Soviet country finally introduced new laws to allow foreign casino operators to enter the market. But strict licensing conditions and steep fees were imposed to prevent the influx of foreign operators.
For example, operators had to pay a licensing fee of $440,000, and the Hungarian Gambling Authority was responsible for awarding licenses to casino operators. Besides, the new gambling law imposed a cap on the number of land-based casinos. The law stipulated that online casinos must join forces with any of the 11 land-based casinos in the country to be eligible for a license. Although the high licensing fee was not a problem for high-revenue betting companies, many operators decided not to enter the Hungarian market due to unfavorable licensing conditions.
Hungary to End Sports Betting Monopoly
Although the country allowed foreign casino operators to enter the market, online sports betting was still subject to the state-run Szerencsejáték Zrt monopoly. But Hungary’s sports betting monopoly was not compliant with the European Union’s laws regarding free trade. In 2017, Kindred appealed to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), claiming that Hungary failed to establish fair conditions for foreign operators. Unsurprisingly, the CJEU ruled out in favor of Kindred.
Under pressure from the European Union, the Hungarian Parliament introduced new online gambling legislation to end the state monopoly in February 2022. The new proposal came into effect on 1st January 2023, allowing sports betting companies within the European Economic Area (EEA) to obtain local licenses and operate on Hungarian soil.
Licensing Conditions and Important Restrictions
Under the new proposal, foreign operators within the EEA can apply for licenses and operate in Hungary. At the moment of writing, there is no cap on the number of licenses that can be issued. Besides, punters will be able to make deposits using credit cards linked to an authorized payment service provider.
Operators who have offered gambling services in Europe without a license in the past ten years are not eligible for a Hungarian license. The new legislation also stipulates that operators who want to receive permission to operate in Hungary must have a share capital of HUF1 billion and pay a licensing fee of HUF600 million.
Hungarians who want to wager on sports must be at least 18 years old. At the moment of writing, sports fans from Hungary do not have to pay taxes on gambling winnings. However, betting companies must pay 15% of their net gambling revenue. The authority responsible for monitoring Hungary’s online sports betting market is the Supervisory Authority of Regulatory Affairs (SARA).
Is it legal to wager on sports in Hungary?
Yes, Hungarians can wager on various sports online. The country regulated all forms of gambling and sports betting back in 1991. Initially, the gambling and sports betting markets were subject to a monopoly. But in 2014, the country changed its gambling laws, allowing foreign casino operators to obtain licenses. On 1st January 2023, the country finally ended its sports betting monopoly and opened the market to foreign betting companies.
Are there any taxes on gambling winnings in Hungary?
At the moment of writing, Hungarian punters do not have to pay taxes on winnings from gambling and sports betting activities. On the other hand, licensed bookmakers have to pay 15% of their monthly net gaming revenue.
How to choose a reliable sportsbook?
Hungary recently opened its sports betting market, allowing operators to accept Hungarian punters upon obtaining a license. However, no online sportsbook has received permission to operate on Hungarian soil thus far. But many reputable offshore betting sites accept punters from Hungary. When selecting a betting platform, punters must check the gambling authority that licensed the sportsbook and the supported payment methods. Furthermore, acclaimed betting sites offer reliable customer support services.
What currencies can I use to add funds to my betting account?
Online sportsbooks accepting bettors from Hungary usually support various currencies, including Hungarian Forint (HUF). But if a given betting site does not accept this currency, Hungarian bettors can use other currencies such as EUR or USD.
What types of sports betting bonuses are available to Hungarian punters?
To stand out, betting sites geared toward the Hungarian market offer various bonus types. Punters from Hungary can benefit from match deposit bonuses, free bets, risk-free bets, boosted odds, Acca insurance, and others. Note that sports betting bonuses are associated with terms and conditions that vary between different sportsbooks.