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Sportingbet Hit by Hungarian Legal Proceedings

2 Dec 2004

HUNGARY – As reported by the Budapest Business Journal: "Hungary's Gambling Supervision last week initiated legal proceedings against the U.K.'s Sportingbet Plc, the world's largest online gambling service, which launched its Hungarian-language website in June of this year.

"Sportingbet is operating without the appropriate license, claims the supervision. And, according to paragraph 267 of Hungary's criminal code, organizers of illicit gambling could be sentenced to two years in jail.

"Sportingbet, however, maintains that its activities are perfectly legal and conform to all applicable EU regulations.

"At the heart of the dispute is the fact that gambling is a state monopoly in Hungary, governed by the 1991 Gambling Act, which prescribes that gambling organizers must be majority owned by the Hungarian state. The gambling supervision has already levied a fine of Ft 500,000 on Sportingbet's Hungarian media buyer,

"…Speaking to the BBJ, Nigel Payne, group CEO of Sportingbet, said he is not worried about the legal proceedings, and insisted that the company has no intention of ceasing to offer and market its services in Hungary…"

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