Poland to Start Targeting Online Gamblers

The Polish Ministry of Finance made an official announcement on its website that warned Polish online gamblers against playing with unlicensed operators. Those who do so will be prosecuted. Unlicensed operators are foreign businesses that have not filed for and received a valid Polish gambling license. The announcement was made on November 18.

Online Gambling

The ministry’s statement revealed that the Polish regulatory authority has data on more than 24,000 players who have been engaging in illegal online gambling. They added that the agency is undertaking 1,100 criminal cases and that it is specifically targeting those who have the most winnings. Approximately 17,700 players have earned a total of 27 million PLN (£5,100,000).

This marks the first time the Polish government is targeting individual players. Previously, only those involved in either the promotion, marketing or immediate operation of unlicensed foreign businesses have been targeted.

Poland has a history of fluctuating online gambling laws. In 2009, several high-ranking politicians were exposed in a “Blackjack Scandal.” These politicians, many of whom were later fired by Prime Minister Tusk, tried to influence online gambling legislation to earn payoffs from the gambling industry.

As a result, the gambling legislation was made much more strict.

Under pressure from Europe, Poland in 2011 modified the legislation to allow for online gaming. Online sports betting has been legal for the past three years. The country now has four Polish-licensed operators: Milenium, STS, Fortuna Entertainment, and Tolotek.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Finance drafted an amendment to better facilitate open borders for international operators. The European Commission is scheduled to review the amendments On February 6.

The Roland Berger consulting agency estimates that Poland only captures 9 percent of its online gambling market, which is considered to be worth $4.9 billion PLN (approx. £926,000,000).

Poland joins a number of European countries, including the United Kingdom, Malta, Netherlands, and Croatia, undergoing changes in their online gambling markets.