Although Polish gambling market has been growing steadily, it seems that is still overshadowed by the illegal market operating in the country.
The Polish Supreme Audit Office (NIK) is bent on rooting out illegal gambling by empowering the Ministry of Finance and providing them the resources to combat the felons.
Polish betting market (including legal and illegal operations) grew to an estimated PLN7.9bn (£1.63bn/€1.82bn/$2.02bn) for 2018, up from PLN5.0bn in 2015. Legal operators earn amounts of money that went up more than 600% to PLN3.88bn by 2018.
Although slightly reduced, illegal market is still present. Experts say that the value on unlicensed online wagering increased 42% over the same period, to PLN4.01bn, accounting for 51% of the market.
Poland introduced the Gambling Act on April 1st, 2017. The act extended the 12% turnover tax on land-based bookmakers online. It also handed the state-owned operator Totalizator Sportowy a monopoly for online casino and promotional lotteries.
Although new operators were appearing regularly, some large names like Unibet, Bet365 and William Hill left the place.
Gambling taxes went up from PLN1.64bn in 2017 to PLN1.90bn in 2018, but that money has still fallen short of government projections. NIK stated that there was a delay to the Totalizator Sportowy’s roll-out casino products.
Many delays were made, especially when it comes to launching slot arcades and even online gaming products.
In order to protect and improve Totalizator Sportowy, Polish authorities seized about 63,000 illegal slot machines and fined numerous smaller business or even individuals.
Poland introduced the country’s first blacklist of unlicensed operators from 1 July 2017. The number of these domains has been growing steadily. NIK criticized the blacklist and its effectiveness, because other factors, like telecommunications, failed to cooperate with the Ministry of Finance and have been causing delays. Sometimes, the ministry was forced to take actions against telecommunications that were obstructing justice.
Therefore, the Gambling Act was “updated” to empower the Ministry so they could resolve these problems faster.
Still, offshore operators remain a thorn in the eye for Polish authorities. Some of them are hard to get (because of ‘clone domains’) and the country has no power to persecute these companies in general.