Next week the Parliament is to vote on the liberalization of online sport betting and on new sanctions on PSP’s servicing unlicensed operators.
Hungary has been considering the liberalization of online sports betting for a while. A TRIS proceedings was commenced in February and closed in June before the European Commission on a draft amendment to the Gambling Act (Amendment) and a corresponding implementation decree to be issued by the President of the Supervisory Authority of Regulated Activities (SARA). In the last couple of weeks, the Amendment went through the necessary committees of the Hungarian Parliament in an expedite way and on 12 July the Government called an extraordinary session of the Parliament for 18-29 July in order to, among others, vote on the Amendment. Therefore, it is likely that the Parliament will adopt the Amendment next week.
For precedent, please see our previous articles on the topic here:
The current text of the draft Amendment includes some significant new elements and changes compared to the draft that was submitted to the EC in February within the TRIS proceedings; for example:
- A more precise wording is added about the SARA’s right of prior consent connected to tendering and the conclusion of concession contracts. (see Section 1 of the Amendment)
- Instead of the 10-year rule of the TRIS notification text, the current proposal provides that license cannot be granted to companies that organised unlicensed gambling within 5 years prior to the submission of the application for authorisation in any EEA country (see Section 4 of the Amendment).
- The legislator has drew up detailed rules of the sanction of ’bank account black listing’, under which the SARA will be entitled to issue decisions ordering restrictions of payment accounts. Under such rules, PSPs will be obliged to refuse/return payment orders/transactions to be debited from or credited to prohibited payment accounts. The SARA’s connected decisions will be published on its website, where a register of prohibited accounts will also be maintained. In case of non-compliance with these rules, the SARA will impose administrative fines on PSPs (from HUF 1 million to 5 million, ~EUR 2,445 to 12.225). (see Sections 9 and 11 of the Amendment).
- The parts of the Amendment that concern the Gambling Act are still to enter into force on 1 January 2023. (see Section 101(4))
There is no new information available on the implementation decree to be issued by the SARA’s President even though the recent changes in the draft Amendment require additions and modifications to the draft implementation decree as well compared to the text that was notified with the EC in February.
The text of the Amendment might still change until the voting that is expected next Monday or Tuesday.