Hungary Considers Legalising and Taxing Poker For Badly Needed RevenueOctober 6, 2009 6:53 am
Hungary’s lawmakers and politicians are considering legalising and taxing both online and live poker and the country could see the new law passed before the end of the year.
Meantime, there is a difference of opinion on how regulating and taxing the industry should be organised and these will have to be ironed out before any progress can be made on introducing the new law.
The Hungarian government favours strict regulations for live poker clubs and imposing a 10 table limit per club and capped entry fees at a low level. The Hungarian Poker Association (HPA), on the other hand, believe such an approach would not only discourage international organisations from using Hungary to stage tournaments, but would also draw the domestic market towards playing more online games.
A recent survey conducted by the HPA showed that already between 120,000-140,000 or around 1% of Hungarians play online poker and HPA President Gergely Tatar believes that any regulation introduced should be aimed at attracting the major tournaments to Hungary rather than forcing more players towards the online games. He even suggested that tax levels could be set per table and said :
“This could bring the Hungarian government tax revenues of around Euros 1 million annually, plus all the venues’ corporate and labour taxes. Moreover, in a few years’ time, around 1 000 jobs could be created by some 30 to 40 clubs countrywide.”
The Hungarian government is keen to find new ways to improve its revenue as the country needed an international bailout last year during the credit crisis, is currently experiencing its worst recession for 18 years and its economy is expected to contract by 6.7% this year.
Recently Hungary has revised the way it calculates gross domestic product to meet European Union standards and now includes prostitution, which has been legalized and regulated by the government since 1999.
“There are more than 10 categories of prostitution, each with their own unit prices and other detailed data, so we simply had to account for them as output,” statistician Peter Szabo said. “Used by a foreign tourist, these services of course are considered exports.”