arlier this week, the country’s Council of Ministers voted in favor of certain amendments to Poland’s current gambling law. The changes, however, aim at restricting the provision of online casino games to the national lottery operator Totalizator Sportowy.
Poland had formerly legalized the provision of online sports betting options within its borders and has recently authorized online poker and casino games. International operators expressed hopes that they would be able to enter the local market with licenses for the provision of online slots and poker. As it seems, however, this has become close to impossible, or at least for now.
Following the latest amendments to the country’s Gambling Act, Totalizator Sportowy will be granted control over all games of chance that will be provided online. Lawmakers explained their decision to implement a state monopoly over slot games with the fact that these are believed to among “the most addictive” forms of gambling. Holding control over online casino games, Totalizator Sportowy will be required to prepare measures focused on the promotion of responsible gambling.
Here it is important to note that the state monopoly will include online slots only. In other words, international poker operators will be able to enter the country’s regulated market. And as previously reported, private groups will no longer be prohibited from organizing land-based poker tournaments. At present, Poland’s residents are allowed to play poker in local casinos only.
The amended gambling law will now be presented to the European Commission. After being reviewed by European authorities, the legal paper will then need a final approval from Polish lawmakers. If everything goes as planned, the country may have a regulated, although highly restricted, gambling market as of January 1, 2017.
Poland’s online gambling market has been estimated at PLN5 billion. However, gray operators have been holding a 90% market share
The country’s government has expressed hopes that once the new law is implemented, licensed operators will take control over 40% of the market by the end of the first year since its adoption. The market share is expected to increase to 80% after three years.
In addition, the amount of PLN637 million is expected to enter the country’s coffers by the end of year one after the regulations have come into force. After three years of implementation, the amount of tax revenue contributed is expected to reach PLN2.32 billion.
Given the latest restrictions introduced, Poland is not likely to turn into international operators’ most preferred destination. What is more, sports betting operators are currently required to pay a 12% tax on sports betting turnover.
Earlier this year, Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and High Education Jarosław Gowin proposed that the current levy be replaced with a 20% one on betting revenue. Denmark implemented a similar tax when it regulated its online gambling market. And the country has turned into a good example for the benefits of the market’s legalization. However, Minister Gowin’s proposal was rejected by lawmakers. According to people with knowledge of the matter, the current taxes would probably scare off international gambling operators.