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Hungary’s restrictive online gambling laws slammed by CJEU

George Miller

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Court of Justice for the EU - Hungary
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hungary’s prohibitive online gambling rules exclude the country from taking enforcement action against online gambling operators licensed by other European Union countries, according to The Court of Justice of the EU.

 

In a ruling handed down on yesterday, the CJEU ruled that Hungary’s new online gambling regime had unjustly excluded EU-licensed operators from the country’s licensing process. The case had been brought by the Kindred Group’s Malta-licensed Unibet brand.

 

Background

The Budapest-Capital Administrative and Labour Court asked the CJEU whether Hungary violated the freedom to provide services for imposing administrative fines and temporary ISP blocking measures against an EU licensed and regulated operator, whilst it failed to publish a call for tenders and did not enable the operator to submit an application for the purposes of obtaining a Hungarian license. In 2014, the European Commission sent an EU Pilot letter to Hungary in reaction to the changes in the Hungarian gambling framework, in which it emphasized the negative impact on the freedom to provide services.

 

Finally, the CJEU ruled against Hungary imposing fines against Unibet, saying “where a restrictive system has been established for games of chance and that system is incompatible with Article 56 TFEU, an infringement of the system by an economic operator cannot give rise to penalties.

 

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of EGBA: “The Court reiterated that Member States must guarantee that national regulation on online gambling services meets objective, transparent, non-discriminatory and proportionate criteria. Only a properly regulated and transparent online gambling market can ensure that the consumer is channeled to the regulated offer.

The Court’s ruling is a clear message to other Gaming Authorities, including the Dutch Gaming Authority, that they must not enforce regulation that does not comply with basic EU law. We expect these Member States to reconsider and lift these enforcement measures as they are acting in violation of EU law. Their actions do not serve the interest of consumers, they fail to channel the consumers to reliable providers, instead they merely prop up failed regulation.“ added Haijer.

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Central Europe

Czech Ministry of Finance Defends its Decision to Increase Gambling Tax

Niji Narayan

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Czech Ministry of Finance Defends its Decision to Increase Gambling Tax
Photo Source: radio.cz
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

The Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic has defended its decision to introduce higher taxes on certain gambling activities, after a national newspaper claimed the tax hike would harm the country’s land-based market. The Ministry said that income from the higher taxes will help support its efforts to protect people from gambling-related harm.

From January 2020, a new structure will split taxes into three tiers, according to how harmful the government perceives the activity to be. Gambling tax is currently set at 23% of gross gaming revenue (GGR,) with the exception of gaming machines, which are taxed at 35% of GGR. Lotteries, live games and bingo operators will be taxed at 30% of GGR, up from the current rate of 23%, while the rate for fixed-odds betting will rise from 23% to 25%.

Jiří Dolejš, a member of the parliamentary budget committee for the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM), said the government should reconsider the decision before implementing the new regulations.

Dolejš put forward an alternative proposal whereby the rates for lotteries, live games, bingo and fixed odds betting would remain the same, but the tax rate on gaming machines would be increased from 35% to 38%. He added that the government should be focused on tackling online gambling, claiming the channel was riskier than certain forms of land-based gambling.

“The main intention is to raise taxes for slot machine operators, which are the most harmful. The point is to reasonably maintain different rates of gambling taxation according to social risk, but the Ministry of Finance was not interested in this debate,” Dolejš said.

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Central Europe

Totalizator Sportowy Receives Digital Excellence Award

Niji Narayan

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Totalizator Sportowy Receives Digital Excellence Award
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Totalizator Sportowy has received an award in the Gala Digital Excellence Awards 2019. The award was for the Digital Transformation category.

The award was received by Aida Bella, Director of the Sports Spokesman’s Totalizator Office and Albert Pasek managing the Product and Technology Project Management Team in the company.

“Being among the 10 finalists, we didn’t know until the very end whether we would be awarded in one of the six categories, and yet we were successful – members of the CIONET community voted for us! We have won over projects of several large companies. We can speak of a great distinction, because the CIONET Community category is considered the most unique! This is due to all employees of our company who contributed to the company’s entry into the e-commerce market,” Aida Bella said.

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Central Europe

Superbet Secures Online Betting License in Poland

Niji Narayan

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Superbet Secures Online Betting License in Poland
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

Romanian bookmaking company Superbet has secured an online betting license in Poland.

In April, Superbet Zakłady Bukmacherskie submitted the necessary documents to the Ministry of Finance to obtain permission for online sales. The licensing process went smoothly and the regulator issued official permission to conduct online operations of the company based in Katowice.

Superbet is the seventeenth company that can legally offer online betting services in Poland. The Superbet group has undergone many changes in recent months and former CEO of Paddy Power Betfair, Johnny Hartnett, has been appointed as its new CEO.

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