International edition
September 26, 2020

Country's online market is 95% held by foreign unlicensed operators

Efforts to legalize online poker emerge in Poland

Efforts to legalize online poker emerge in Poland
In Poland, poker is a game that can only be played at land-based casinos. This, however, may eventually change at some point future, if a proposal by Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Science and Higher Education Minister Jarosław Gowin gathers the ne
Poland | 05/23/2016

In Poland, poker is a game that can only be played at land-based casinos. This, however, may eventually change at some point future, if a proposal by Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Science and Higher Education Minister Jarosław Gowin gathers the necessary support among lawmakers and the general public.

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arlier in May, Minister Gowin, together with Zbigniew Boniek, President of the country’s Football Association, noted in a specially organized press conference that certain changes should be implemented in the Polish Gambling Act of 2011 regarding the provision of sports betting and poker options. This is expected to result in more revenue entering Poland’s coffers and the country’s online gambling market being prevented from being ruled by ‘grey’ operators.

Given the fact that the proposal did not came from the governing party in Poland, it would need quite a lot of support in order for the changes called for to be implemented

Under the Minister Gowin’s proposal, the current 12% tax on revenue from sports betting should be replaced with a 20% one. A 10% share of the money the government receives from sports betting should be contributed to the Polish Olympic Committee and initiatives aimed at the prevention of gambling addiction and helping people with problem gambling behavior. According to Minister Gowin and his administration, the new tax would result in PLN200 million (€50 million) being annually generated for Poland’s budget.

Another important thing to be paid attention to is the fact that the new proposal includes provisions for the legalization and regulation of online poker and other gambling options offered over the Internet. As mentioned above, poker is now only permitted in Poland’s licensed brick-and-mortar casinos. If Minister Gowin’s plan eventually results in the current law being amended, private poker tournaments will also be legalized. At present, such activities are subject to serious fines and even to imprisonment.

Earlier this year, Poland’s Minister of Finance Paweł Szałamacha said that the country’s gambling industry was not likely to be expanded at that point. Minister Gowin, on the other hand, tried to put an emphasis on the fact that he considers poker and sports betting less harmful gambling activities than slot games, for instance.

According to official data, Poland’s online market is 95% held by foreign unlicensed operators. The latest proposal calls for certain measures to be taken so as for the government to prevent more money being lost to gambling companies operating in the grey zone. If the changes proposed come into effect, IPs and payments of unregulated operators would be blocked.

It is too early to say whether Minister Gowin’s plan would be materialized and to what extent. And given the fact that the proposal did not came from the governing party in Poland, it would need quite a lot of support in order for the changes called for to be implemented.

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