Sunday, July 15, 2018

Poland’s Regulated Gambling Market Remains Unpopular as Blacklist of Erring Operators Keeps Growing

Casino News Daily
Poland’s Regulated Gambling Market Remains Unpopular as Blacklist of Erring Operators Keeps Growing

More than a year after the re-regulation of Poland’s gambling market the country’s Finance Ministry, the governmental entity charged with overseeing all things gambling, has remained consistent in its efforts to detect violators of rules and to penalize those.

The Finance Ministry has been purging the local market by blacklisting unlicensed operators that target local gamblers. Under the country’s gambling law, the blacklisted companies must have their domains blocked by local Internet service providers. And at press time, Poland’s blacklist of erring operators includes 2,379 domains.

Two domains operated by bet-at-home were the last ones to be added to the ever-growing list. The operator actually faced trouble in the Netherlands earlier this week, as well, where the local gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit, fined it more than €400,000 for trying to lure local players.

Poland’s blacklist and its overall regulatory regime have been causing quite a stir in the iGaming community and have been branded as unfair and overrestrictive.

And while major industry players have resorted to legal action to convince the Polish government that they believe what has been going on in the country violates principles of the European Union, a local court has given the green light to lawmakers to continue adding companies to the now behemoth blacklist.

News emerged earlier this week that the Warsaw Provincial Administrative Court has upheld the Finance Ministry’s right to continue expanding its list of unlicensed gambling domains. The ruling has been issued as a response to complaints filed by five Sweden- and Malta-based gambling operators that had argued that the country had marred their established reputations within the iGaming community by adding their domains to the blacklist.

The Administrative Court has stated that it has found now issue with Poland’s new gambling law as it had been sent for review by the European Commission and the latter had not provided any negative comments regarding the way the country had decided to punish violators.

Unlike the Warsaw court, the Polish ombudsman has criticized the blacklisting practice as one that violated the right of “freedom of speech and access to information”.

Unpopular Market

Under Poland’s Gambling Act from last year, international sports betting operators can apply for a license from the Ministry of Finance in order to be able to operate in the country. However, just nine licenses have been issued since last April, when the new law took effect.

Cherry AB, the major Swedish gambling operator, entered the local market most recently. The company received its license earlier this month. On the other hand, big industry names such as bet365 and William Hill exited the market last year ahead of its re-regulation and have abstained from obtaining a license ever since.

Poland’s online gambling market has become quite unpopular with many operators due to the ridiculously high tax rate the country’s government introduced as part of last year’s re-regulation. Licensed companies are required to pay 12% on their turnover from local customers to the Finance Ministry. Given the fact that most of Europe’s regulated markets use revenue as a tax basis, it is quite understandable why there seems to be a general lack of interest in the Polish market.

While international companies are allowed to operate sports betting in Poland, as long as they have the necessary license, casino games are reserved to the state-run monopoly Totalizator Sportowy.

The launch of its online casino is expected to take place this fall after certain delays related to the selection of the provider that would supply games occurred. The Polish government was supposed to launch a bidding process for suppliers last August, but it was November when that process eventually took place. It later on became known that Playtech would be providing the state-run casino with the necessary gaming software.

The post Poland’s Regulated Gambling Market Remains Unpopular as Blacklist of Erring Operators Keeps Growing appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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