Gambling in Poland was mostly unregulated in the 1980s and 1990s. However, that changed in 2009 with the passing of the Gambling Law. It imposed strict guidelines on all forms of gambling with online gambling becoming the focus of an amendment that was passed in 2016. In this article, we will take a closer look at five things about online gambling in Poland the average person does not know.
1 – Unlicensed Gambling Sites Get Blacklisted
When the Polish government passed the amendment to the 2009 Gambling Law in December 2016, it was meant to aim squarely on internet gambling. When the amendment went into effect in April 2017, it targeted gambling sites that did not have licenses to operate within Poland. Without a Polish online gambling license, a site is deemed to be illegal. Although both the unlicensed gambling site operators and Polish players ignored this, the government had to take a hard line on this stance. In doing so, a register was created that listed unlicensed gambling websites. The Minister of Finance controlled the entries on that register and determined which sites would be blacklisted. In addition to not holding a Polish online gambling license, if a gambling site featured the Polish language and promoted its gaming activities in the country as a direct means to attract Polish gamblers, it would be put on the registry.
2 – The Registry Would Go To Internet Providers
Any of the unlicensed gambling sites that wound up on the registry would be shared with Polish internet providers. It was up to these services to block access to unlicensed gambling websites. This was accomplished by the Polish internet providers rerouting visitors from the targeted sites to a Polish government site that clearly explained that the gambling site a user had attempted to reach was considered illegal as it was on the blacklisted registry. As heavy-handed as that may sound, the Gambling Law amendment does have a provision where blacklisted sites can file an appeal with the Minister of Finance. The interesting point is that there is no obligation for the Minister to notify a site that it has been blacklisted. The only way a blacklisted website operator would discover this would be to try to access their site from within Poland, which offshore sites would probably not attempt because access would be normal outside of Poland.
3 – Payment Service Providers Are Restricted on What Sites They Can Partner With
To make it even more difficult for unlicensed gambling sites located outside of Poland to operate with Polish players, the Gambling Law amendment also put the brakes on payment service providers. This means that once an unlicensed gambling website is put on the registry of illegal sites, all payment service providers have 30 days to remove themselves from any arrangement made to provide transaction services with one of these sites. Failure to comply results in a heavy fine schedule with the maximum fine totaling 58,000 euros. That figures out to be about USD 68,500. But that’s not all. The same penalty applies to internet service providers that violate the rules restricting access to unlicensed gambling sites.
4 – Online Game Choices Are Few In Poland
Before the Gambling Law amendment, the only type of online gaming available in Poland was sports betting. Since then, a state-owned company, Totalizator Sportowy offers a variety of online casino-type games. This does not include online poker as poker played on the internet is still illegal in Poland. For other casino-type gaming in Polish, visit Kasyno Polska Online. Poker, by the way, was only permitted in tournaments that were hosted in licensed brick-and-mortar casinos in Poland before the Gambling Law amendment was adopted. Although this is considered to be an illegal form of poker in the country, the development of games that put players against the house is permitted in the Gambling Law amendment. It also permits licensed casinos to host poker tournaments at other venues and other unlicensed entities or individuals organizing poker tournaments have seen their events deemed as legal following the change to the Gambling Law.
5 – Brick-And-Mortar Casinos Are Also Strictly Governed
The 2009 Gambling Law strictly controls the number of brick-and-mortar casinos and what they offer within Poland. Some venues offer traditional casino games, and there are also bingo saloons, and land-based sports betting facilities. Each community with a population of up to 250,000 can host one casino. That rate holds for every 250,000 in population. So, a city with 510,000 can legally have two casinos. As for bingo saloons, the population stat is one bingo saloon per 100,000 people. There are also slot machine parlors and they are all operated by the same state-run company that controls online casino gaming in Poland. The regulations stipulate that a slot machine parlor can operate with between three and fifty machines. Add to this the state tax of 10% charged on all sports bet winnings that are automatically taken off by the betting shop and it is not hard to see why Polish gamblers find offshore online gambling sites as attractive alternatives.
Poland is not the only country in the world attempting to prevent gambling money from residents leaving its borders. Some countries have implemented strict guidelines where internet service providers are tasked with either blocking unlicensed sites or tracking those who visit them. In Poland, once an illegal site is blacklisted, it is a matter of time before it ceases promoting itself to the Polish people.
With the government cracking down on payment service providers, Polish gamblers typically have no choice but to turn away from the unlicensed sites. Will the gambling laws in Poland lighten up and fall in line with the majority of others in the European Union? That’s hard to say but if the EU presses free trade, Poland may have to relax its grip on online gambling to permit a few gambling sites from outside the country to operate and provide Polish gamblers with the American-style casino gaming experience they are seeking.