Online gambling has taken off all over the world as a major form of entertainment. As Europe is one of the hotspots for iGaming, Polish players get the same type of exposure. However, the gambling scene is not as flourished as you’d expect from an EU country.
In case you’re not aware, gambling in Poland is primarily regulated by the Act of 19 November 2009 on Gambling Games. It’s called Ustawa z dnia 19 listopada 2009 r. o grach hazardowych in Polish. It established the legal framework for various forms of online gambling in Poland. If you’re looking for the best online casinos PL, you can get them readily available.
What Does the Legislation Entail?
Let’s explore the areas of the legislation to better understand the gambling paradigm in Poland.
Licensing and Regulation
The Act of 19 November 2009 established a licensing system for gambling operators in the country. To legally provide gambling services in Poland, operators needed to obtain a license from the Ministry of Finance. All other licenses, even offshore ones, are not valid in the country.
Types of Gambling
The legislation covered various forms of gambling, including sports betting, poker, slot machines, and casino games. Apart from the stated forms of gambling, Polish players can’t participate in any other kind of gambling activity.
Of course, the act addressed online gambling, requiring online operators to have a Polish license to offer their services legally to Polish residents. The law also provided for the blocking of websites that did not hold a Polish license.
Just like any other gambling legislation in the world, this one included provisions aimed at protecting players, such as responsible gambling measures, age verification, and self-exclusion options.
Last but not least, the Act of 19 November 2009 imposed significant taxes on gambling operators based on their revenue. Taxation, along with some other areas of the law, created quite a few controversies over the years. Let’s explore them a bit.
Controversies of the Polish Gambling Law
Pretty much all gambling legislation receives some backlash from niche communities as we’ve seen in the past. The Polish landscape, however, has been subject to more buzz than any other country in the EU. Let’s explore what the areas of controversy are.
High Taxation Rates
Obviously, one of the biggest controversies is the high taxation rates imposed on gambling operators. The tax rates were seen as some of the highest in Europe, making it challenging for operators to remain profitable.
This led to concerns that high taxes could drive gambling operators to the black market or leave the Polish market altogether. We may see even more operators leave the jurisdiction if the new proposed GGR taxes are accepted by the regulatory board.
Blocking Unlicensed Websites
The Act allowed the Polish government to block access to unlicensed gambling websites. While this was intended to protect consumers and ensure that only licensed operators could offer services to Polish residents, it also raised concerns about internet censorship and the effectiveness of blocking measures.
Needless to say, it also led to a monopoly by the state-owned operators. If you look for Skrill Casinos PL, you’ll mostly find government-owned sites that allow this payment method instead of top-tier international brands.
Limited Online Poker
The 19th November Act classified poker as a game of chance rather than a game of skill. It’s a different approach compared to most other countries across Europe. In case you didn’t know, a game of chance is placed under more stringent regulations.
This ultimately led to a decrease in the availability of online poker options for Polish players, as some operators chose to exit the market.
Concerns About Player Protection
You already know that the Act included provisions for player protection. However, some critics argued that they were not comprehensive enough. Issues related to responsible gambling, advertising, and the prevention of gambling addiction remained topics of concern. If you go through old newspapers since 2009, you’ll find multiple op-eds that address this issue.
Last but not least, the Act allowed for the existence of state-owned gambling companies. It inevitably created a situation where the government itself was both a regulator and an operator. This raised questions about fairness and competition within the market.