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venues and on online websites. l


Te Fund for the Development of Civil Society is to be set up to receive additional funding from the sector.


THE ONLINE MARKET News last year that Poland was to become the


next country to regulate its online gambling market wasn’t what the local operators were hoping for.


Although the ministers voted in favour of certain amendments to the current gambling laws the changes restricted the provision of online casino games to the national lottery operator Totalizator Sportowy.


Te provision of online sports betting options was legalised a while back and now online poker and casino games are now permitted. But international operators who hoped to enter the market with licences are sadly disappointed as there will be a block of access to non licensed operators as well as banning payment service providers from offering their services on black listed sites.


Totalizator Sportowy will be granted control over all games of chance provided online. Apparently the government say the state


monopoly over such games is to help them control gambling addiction in what they see as the ‘most addictive form of gambling’. Totalizator Sportowy will have to introduce measures for the promotion of responsible gambling.


Poland’s online gambling market was said to be worth €83.2m (GGR) although around 90 per cent of this is held by grey market operators at the moment. Te government believes once the new law is introduced they will take control of 40 per cent of the market initially which will increase to 80 per cent within three years.


Te government says it could bring in an extra PLN637m in tax revenues for the first year of operations increasing to PLN2.32bn by three years.


Te government’s aim is to accomplish three main goals:


l


Reduce the size of the grey market by eventually capturing 60 per cent of the offshore market.


l


Increase player protection through responsible gaming rules


l Increase tax revenue via a greater share of


locally licensed operators.


Te problem is by blocking offshore companies it is not only labour intensive and largely ineffective but also limits not only the competition in the market but also could limit tax revenues ultimately.


Other countries who have introduced similar blocking schemes have since found that this system doesn’t work. Meanwhile with a 12 per cent tax basically paid for by the players at source, the winnings for Polish players betting on onshore sites are of course lower than those placed on offshore sites


Poland has seen a huge increase in the number of internet users over the last decade and by 2015 it is said internet penetration was 67 per cent whilst smart phone penetration was around 58 per cent the same year. Around 60 per cent of gamblers are aged between 18 and 24 and there are some 2,200 betting shops across Poland.


Meanwhile there are now queries as to how the European Commission will react to Poland’s state run online casino ruling. Although there are some precedents out there in Sweden for example there is local lobbying in Poland which could well see the Commission step in.


NEWSWIRE / INTERACTIVE / 247.COM P77


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