Hungary Aiming for First National Jackpot
By dave
In a bid to lure flocks of punters to electronic gambling halls, members of the Hungarian Gaming Association and the country’s gambling monopoly, Szerencsejáték Rt, are exploring the idea of launching Hungary’s first National jackpot system, executives at Szerencsejáték and the association said last week.

One executive said the system – which is aimed at connecting about 1,000 gambling outlets in Hungary – will boost revenues by offering hitherto unheard-of jackpots.

“National jackpot systems have been working very well in foreign markets, and such a scheme can tremendously increase the popularity of machines that are connected to it,” said Károly Koralevics, managing director and co-owner of gaming hardware, software and equipment maker EAC Gaming Kft.

Koralevics is also a member of the presidium of the Gaming Association, the interest protection and lobbying organization of the industry.

“The idea of establishing the system is on the agenda, and we believe it can be implemented in 6–12 months, once the agreement with the parties involved is made,” he said.

“Szerencsejáték Rt has definite plans to enter the implementation of the national jackpot system as the entity that establishes and operates the network needed to launch such a scheme,” concurred László Somorai, head of communications at the state-owned gambling monopoly. “The plan is currently at the discussion phase, and negotiations are underway with the association and market players.”

According to Koralevics, EAC Gaming has been producing gambling machines that can operate in a network, though current legal regulations prevent operators from hooking them up.

“The National Gambling Act bans such activities, and only allows a connection of the jackpots of machines that are physically located on the same premises,” he explained. He added that the company has hooked up a total of over 200 of its Mystery Jackpot machines into several such local jackpot systems countrywide.

Together with rival companies, Koralevics said EAC Gaming submitted a bid to Szerencsejáték in April with an implementation plan for the national jackpot project.

“We have contacted companies that could supply a super-safe encryption and information exchange system, and have also developed interfaces for hooking up the most commonly used electronic gambling machines,” he said. “I can say without boasting that the majority of technical conditions are in place to start the project.”

In his professional role as one of the members of the presidium of the Gaming Association, Koralevics nevertheless expressed concerns about the participation of Szerencsejáték in the jackpot project.

“We fear that Szerencsejáték may also involve a rich foreign operator in the project, and eventually will leave out existing players in the market. The national jackpot scheme would have a very strong competitive edge, which means that it could be abused as a tool to lure away clients from existing operators,” he said. “We believe that the national jackpot scheme can only be implemented in cooperation with local enterprises, so that the profits are reinvested locally.”

Koralevics said he is aware of more than one foreign investor that is looking at the Hungarian market, with participation in the national jackpot system in mind.

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