The Government of Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Prime Minister, has extended the betting licenses of its gambling allies until 2056. This move comes in less than a year of the next parliamentary elections. The extended licenses were announced on the Hungarian gambling control body’s site.
Orban Extends Casino Licenses by 35 Years
This 35-year extension seemed like a rather unorthodox move as the operators’ licenses were actually set to expire in 2024 – three years from now. Orban’s government responded to questions by saying that the new licenses are signed with Hungary’s best economic interest in mind. The new deals’ details forecast over $10 million of extra revenue for the period between 2021 and 2024.
All five of the Budapest casinos that received license extensions belong to Las Vegas Casino Diamond. The operator is the only entity that has been authorized in the 30-year history of Hungarian gambling. It was also the first operator to receive an online betting license in the country back in 2017. LVC Diamond is owned by Istvan Garancsi, a close friend of the Prime Minister, according to Telex.
When journalists tried to contact LVC diamond for a comment, they didn’t receive a response and, by extension, couldn’t get any additional details on the renewed betting licenses.
A Lucrative Move or a Way to Ensure Election Support?
Next year Viktor Orban will be running for a fourth consecutive term. The Prime Minister is a member of the Fidesz-KDNP party and has been at his post for eleven years now. Winds in Hungary are starting to change, however, and Orban is facing increasingly strong opposition. The upcoming elections in the country are expected to be the most heated ones in the last decade.
With such a contest around the corner, some have come to consider that Orban’s decision of prolonging his gambling allies’ licenses with 35 years may be nothing short of a move to ensure their continued support or to ensure their prosperity, should he fall from power. These are still only speculations.
Viktor Orban has been somewhat of a controversial figure as he’s been quite lenient in his efforts against corruption in his country. These allegations have led the European Union to refrain from providing Hungary monetary aid for the battle against COVID-19. Furthermore, Hungary occupies one of the last places in the annual Corruption Perceptions Index if we take only European Union countries in mind.
Despite everything, the Prime Minister continues to claim that the corruption allegations are false and are caused by a wrong perception of his endeavors for the country and its future.