Poland has remained rather intransigent in its stance on gambling. While it’s no surprise that the country is not the flagship adopter of gambling regulations, Polish Finance Ministry remains firmly opposed against any sort of legalization. Not only that, but the Ministry, charged with overseeing the industry, is now stepping up its efforts to penalize wrongdoers in a bid to make an example.
Poland has now started an anti-gambling campaign that intends to purge all operators targeting its citizens. Estimated 2,400 domains will be blocked between Internet Service Providers (ISP). Some of the most popular names in the offshore industry have also been caught in the fire.
The iGaming Industry at Daggers
Even though what the Ministry does is well within its remit, we would be wrong to mention that the country has indeed been overprotective of the right of its citizens to play, in the sense that no operator can accept Polish gamers without suffering consequences. Leaders of the industry have been even arguing that the country is acting unfairly, threatening the government with the European Union, which already has unified gambling laws.
However, dragging the European Commission into yet another spat with the Polish government may be far from productive. For starters, Poland is split into believing that the brass in Brussels are unfairly stepping in.
Meanwhile, Malta and Sweden-based casinos have filed complaints with the Warsaw Provincial Administrative Court, arguing that the addition of their brands to the blanket list has been a heavy blow to the credibility of Poland as a country open for business insofar as the iGaming sector is concerned.
We Have Our Laws
Poland is indeed at crossroads whether to do more to favor gambling. Without the country being overly religious, Poland does have strong ties to the Catholic Church, which also sees gambling as immoral. The revisited Gambling Act has made some headway for everyone willing to participate in the adopting of more considerate measures. However, only a handful of licenses have been issued since the law was liberalized in April.
More specifically, foreign operators may now apply for licenses in order to open official sports books in the country and be subject to local taxation law. Despite that, we have seen several efforts being taken up, including that of Cherry AB, the Swedish operator.
The decision of the company to step into the market has definitely sent ripples and it made quite the impression. Meanwhile, the industry’s leaders, including bet365 and William Hill (Will Hill is gaining ground in the United States) have decided to keep away for the time being.
Despite a seemingly more liberalized market, the pair of bookies have not been interested in applying for a license under the new law. Meanwhile, Poland has been planning plans of its own. The country’s Totalizator Sportowy, the national lottery, will have its own say in how casino games are run. It will, in fact, be the only licensed entity to offer casino games in all their forms. Much remains to be done for Poland to change its image in the iGaming community.