Bet365 is the world’s largest and favourite betting site operating in more than 200 countries and having more than 63 million global customers. Among the 200+ countries there is the small Central-Eastern European country, Hungary, where bet365 is finally accessible without any issue after the domain of the betting site had been blocked for so many years.
Why did Hungary want to keep bet365 out of the country? Well, the sports betting industry had always been an internal part of the economy and after Hungary had joined the EU, the country tried to keep the global betting world out of its borders as much as possible.
The easiest way to do that was to block the domains of the main brands such as 888Sport, Betway, Unibet and bet365 so that Hungarian bettors would not be able to access the international brands and would be advised to stay with the one and only Hungarian betting site, Tippmix.
Hungary stated that their actions of blocking foreign betting operators were primarily because they did not hold an igaming license that is required in Hungary.
In addition to blocking the domains, the government also introduced a rule stating that it was illegal to publish advertisements on foreign betting sites. This move made it unclear for locals as to whether one betting site was legal to use or not.
The different betting sites, though, did not shy away. They started providing different alternative links on the Hungarian market so local players were able to access the services of the biggest global brands.
In the early 2010s the fight became more visible which led many of the bigger brands such as 888Sport and Betway to completely exit the Hungarian sports betting market. Other betting sites, for instance bet365 and Unibet, stayed in Hungary but not only were their domains blocked, so were the provided alternative links too.
The actions, then, led Unibet to turn to the Court of Justice of the European Union where the betting operator sued Hungary in 2017 for going against the EU’s principle of freedom to provide services.
The European Court of Justice overruled Hungary and ruled that the national legislation prohibiting the organization of games of chance without prior licensing by the local authorities constituted a restriction of the principle of freedom to provide services.
Therefore, bet365, Unibet and the other legal operators should not have been blocked from Hungary. It still took some time before all restrictions were lifted but from the late 2010s and early 2020s, not only Unibet but the world’s largest betting site, bet365, as well, can be accessed by their domains and can be used without any drawbacks.
Bet365 had a somewhat longer journey as the British operator’s site still did not function from time to time but from 2021 it has been running as it is supposed to. Now there is no need for any type of VPN or Hungarian bet365 alternative link, as the site loads and works just fine granting Hungarians full access to all services of bet365.
The British betting company, however, is still a little bit in the shadows. Following the actions of the past 10 years it is still unclear for many of the new bettors if bet365 is legal to use or not from Hungary. As the national law is still in force to prohibit the advertising of international betting sites, bet365 relies on existing customers and partners who can propel the betting site forward.
This article was written in collaboration with sportfogadasioldalak.com, a website that reviews and compares legal Hungarian betting sites.
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