Malta is the first EU state to respond to Hungary’s proposed online gambling reforms.
Hungary.- Malta has submitted a “detailed opinion” on Hungary’s proposed gambling reforms, which would end the country’s state-controlled monopoly gambling market. It’s highlighted possible conflicts on technical arrangements and has called for Hungary to provide details of the technical parameters for licensed online casino operators.
Malta has asked Hungary to clarify what it means by a proposed exclusion for operators that “have organised gambling without a licence in an EEA State during the ten years preceding the application.” It also noted that Hungary’s draft proposal does not update tech and IT provisions from existing laws, which have been in place since 1991.
Hungary notified the European Commission (EC) of its plans for the liberalisation of its online gambling marketplace in February. The changes would introduce unrestricted licensing for EU-registered businesses.
The changes were made after Hungary’s Gambling Supervisory Unit was told to ensure competition rules complied with those of the European Economic Area (EEA). The order came after Kindred Group’s Unibet and Sporting Odds (a former brand belonging to GVC Holdings, now Entain) won European Court of Justice (ECEJ) appeals against the Hungarian government.
The operators, based in Malta, had challenged regulatory changes passed in 2014 that allowed unrestricted, uncompetitive advantages to the state-owned gambling operator Szerencsejáték Zrt.
German sports betting licensees sue over market restrictions
The newly regulated gaming market in Germany is notable for its tight conditions, and now operators have taken legal action over the matter. All 33 sports betting licensees have lodged lawsuits against the state of Hesse to challenge the market’s regulations.
The state will be represented by the Regional Council of Darmstadt, which confirmed that “all holders of permits for both land-based and online sports betting” had filed lawsuits. The operators complain that the market conditions, which limit in-play betting to match winners and total goals, favour unlicensed offshore competitors.