The European Union’s top court has ruled that Hungary’s draconian online gambling licensing and tax scheme is in violation of the Union’s laws regarding competition.

In a ruling that came down late Thursday, the Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) determined that Hungary’s rules were not transparent and would prevent other EU members from operating in the Hungarian online gambling market.

The case, which was brought on by the Malta-based Unibet operator, was heard at the court’s headquarter in Luxembourg.

Lawyers for Unibet said that that Hungary’s online gambling rules and regulations were designed to keep foreign competitors out of the market. To bolster their case, they pointed to the fact that Hungarian casino operators were encouraged to enter the online gambling market and that the laws favored operators who were already licensed in Hungary.

the Hungarian online gambling licensing scheme required that company’s operating

To make matters worse, for foreign competitors anyways,  the Hungarian online gambling licensing scheme required that company’s operating in their market be trustworthy.

Ok, that’s great but how does one establish trustworthiness? In this case, trust is established by operating in the land-based Hungarian gambling market for ten or more years. That’s a hurdle that’s a bit challenging for even the largest online operators.

The court also slammed the Hungarian government for making their regulations deliberately vague and confusing in an effort to thwart foreign competition.

Across Europe, online gambling operators celebrated ruling in hopes that it will encourage more meaningful, and understandable, online gambling regulations across the Continent.

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