Hungary issues new licenses to casinos
In Hungary, five casinos are happy about a long-term license license. A lot of criticism has been leveled at this, since the licensing was granted without a public tender. However, there is a law in Hungary that allows such an approach.
License went to the previous operator
In the media there is a debate about whether the new licenses were granted legally or rather illegally. Of course it may look strange if the licensesis granted without a public tender. However, in Hungary there is a law that states that a license may be granted without a public tender. The only requirement was that it had to be a reputable and reliable licensee. That seems to be the case in Hungary.
Therefore, thenew mayors license has been reassigned to the gambling operator Las Vegas Casino Diamond. This company is pleased to have a35 year license granted to the following casinos:
- Casinos Atlantis
- Atrium Eurocenter
- Corvin Promenade
All casinos are located in Budapest.Istvan Garancsi owns 60 percent of the company and can therefore be called the owner. It is known that he has been friends with Victor Orban for many years. Victor Orban, as head of government, changed the law as mentioned above. For this reason, it is assumed that the licenses were not issued lawfully.
Long license terms are also criticized
The new licensing is justified in Hungary with the new law. In addition, the licensee seems to be a reliable casino operator, having been running the casinos for a long time. That is the reason why there was no public tender. Nevertheless,the opposition criticizes the procedure and suspects that the award was made for the following reason:
Innext year, in Hungary elected. According to the media, it is not certain that Victor Orban will win the election. Therefore, it is assumed that the licensing happened at this time. If another politician were elected Prime Minister, Las Vegas Casino Diamond would most likely not have received the license - at least not without a prior public tender.
In this context, it is criticized that the license was granted for 35 years. This term is also very unusual for other countries. Most countries only grant a casino license for 10 or a maximum of 15 years. I therefore ask whether the license can be revoked before the end of the term. At least that's what theopposition said in the air if the election goes in their favor next year.
Casinos in Hungary make high profits
The five casinos in Budapest make high profits every year. The casinos make almost30 billion euros in profit every year. Other operators would have been happy about such popular casinos. On the other hand, the question arises whether the casinos would have continued to be popular with a new operator. Every change in management automatically brings with it changes that must also be accepted by existing customers.
Nevertheless,the media react extremely indignantly and describe the granting of the licenses as treason and shameless. If the criticism comes from gambling operators, it would be understandable. It is somewhat unusual that the opposition in particular has expressed such severe criticism. After all, the state generates taxes, which will be very high with such a high profit.
The criticism also seems incomprehensible when the following is considered: The operation of casinos in Hungary was described a long time ago as being of great economic interest. In addition, a casino's license may beextended when half of the existing license period has expired. This ensures that the casinos are maintained. Perhaps this was the reason why the previous casino operator received a license again, albeit for a very unusually long time.
Former casino owner also friendly with the government
The five casinos have an exciting history behind them. The former owner also had very good contacts with the government. Again, it is suspected that he had only obtained the licenses for this reason. This isAndy Vajna, who was a well-known film producer. Among other things, he created the films Rambo and Terminator 3. In the course of his career he relocated his business to Hungary and probably became friends with the current head of government. Thanks to this relationship, he received the licenses for the casinos back then.
At least in 2014 it was publicly criticized that licensing was granted without a public tender – just like it is now. At that timeHungary had 11 licenses, five of which went to Las Vegas Casino Diamond owned by Andy Vajna. After his death, the aforementioned 60 percent went to Istvan Garancsi. Las Vegas Casino Diamond has also been operating an online casino since 2016. To this end, the gaming company cooperated with the Finnish gaming operator Finnplay. It was not announced how the license for the online casino was granted.