Poland’s Gambling Market A Year After Senate Passes New Regulation
With the new gambling regulation being passed by the Senate almost a year ago, one would have expected the new legislation to liberalize the industry and pave the way for international casino operators to bring their facilities to the well-regulated market in Poland. However, the reality looks way different.
After being approved by the Senate in 2016, the country’s new gambling laws were finally enforced with effect from April 1, 2017. The new piece of legislation ushered in a new era for the gambling industry in Poland by allowing foreign online sports betting firms to acquire local licenses from the Finance Ministry and bring in their operations within the country. The legislation further outlined that all such international operators will be obligated to pay a tax of 12% on their betting turnovers to the Polish government.
However, according to the experts, the tax base might have been a major factor that would eventually go on to discourage international iGaming operators from entering the Poland market. The 12% rate of tax might be regarded as quite high for a gambling market like Poland that is still in its nascent stages of development and has a population of a mere 38 million.
Although the new gaming law in Poland paved the way for considerable expansion in the online gaming market in the country by legalizing a wide range of gambling activities such as bingo, poker, casino games and sports betting, only sports betting will be run independent of the state-owned company Totalizator Sportowy.
After the enforcement of the gaming regulation, the legislators declared the launch of an online casino by Totalizator Sportowy which will cater to the gaming needs of the local residents. Although there were a number of leading international operators such as 888, bet365 and William Hill that were eying their opportunities in the local market initially, they did not participate in the bidding process after the new law was introduced.
As such while the Polish legislators might have thought that the new gambling law will create a more attractive domestic environment for foreign investors, none of the European bigwigs have shown any interest in the market yet. The staggering tax rate that charges the operators on their turnovers may be one of the major reasons why international operators do not seem interested in a country that does not follow the standard gross gambling revenue tax base system adopted worldwide.