Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s government has extended one of his main supporter’s Budapest casino licences until 2056.
The casino licences all belong to LVC Diamond. The company is owned by Istvan Garancsi, a construction magnate close to Orban, and Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky, the husband of government spokeswoman Alexandra Szentkiralyi, Telex reported.
The permits to operate five casinos were previously due to expire in 2024.
The government gaming authority listed the new extensions on its website. The government has said the new licences will generate at least HUF3bn (EUR8.5m) in extra budget revenue over the next three years.
Telex journalists Brückner Gergely and El d Fruzsina noted that the law states that “a contract may be concluded with a reliable gambling operator without a public tender”, allowing operators to reapply for a concession.
“The case will certainly and rightly stir up a political storm,” they added. “Like so many other recent economic steps, foundation, long-term contracts, multi-year personal appointments, this concession will take an important sector of the economy out of the control of the next governments.”