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Hungary seeking slot machine ban to protect poor

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- The Hungarian government says it is planning to ban slot machines, which it says have led thousands of families to ruin.

According to the bill filed Monday in Parliament, slot machines will be allowed only in Hungary's three casinos. The number of slot machines has fallen from around 25,000 to just 2,000 after last year's five-fold increase in the monthly tax on each machine, from 100,000 forints ($450) to 500,000 forints ($2,250).

State Secretary Janos Lazar also justified the ban on the grounds of national security risks related to the gambling industry, but did not provide details.

Lazar said the ban would lower tax revenues by around 30 billion forints ($135 million). The government plans to replace that by regulating and taxing Internet-based gambling activities.