Laws of the gambling business in Poland

Gambling in Poland

Gambling in Poland is legal. Operators are regulated by the Gambling Act that was adopted November 19, 2009 (with the amendments made May 26, 2011 and January 1, 2017). This provides the main legislation and licensing framework for gambling in Poland. Online gambling is regulated very strictly. Only four Polish companies can operate legally. The regulator is the Ministry of Finance.

Casinos in Poland

49 land-based casinos operated in Poland in 2015. Their profit was 126 million EUR. Their staff had about 2,000 employees. About a million visitors come to the casinos each year. Gross income from the online market in 2015 was 83.2 million EUR. The tax levied on online casino operators is 12% of annual revenue.

Casino Games in Poland

These are some of the slots that are in greater demand in Poland: Sizzling Hot, Starburst, Copy Cats, Fairytale Legends: Hansel and Gretel, Shangri La and Twin Spin. Sizzling Hot by Novomatic is the most played slot in the country. This is a fruit slot that has a simple design and a small number of bonuses. This five-reel slot, familiar to many in land-based casinos, has gradually generated much demand online. Starburst by NetEnt is a five-reel slot whose theme is related to jewellery. The slot comes with 10 paylines and features a Wild symbol that expands throughout the reels. The highest multiplier for five golden Bar symbols is x250. Copy Cats by NetEnt is a slot that features 5 reels, 25 paylines and a chance to win a round of free spins and play a bonus game. The highest multiplier for five red cats is x200. Fairytale Legends: Hansel and Gretel by NetEnt is a five-reel slot with 10 paylines. The slot features re-spins with Wild symbols that land in stacks. Three bonuses are triggered at random: you get some extra winning symbols. Three more bonuses are launched once a certain picture is landed. This is when the Pick-Me bonus game, a series of free spins or an instant reward kick in. Shangri La by NextGen is a slot that comes with 5 reels and 15 paylines, the slot also has two Wild symbols. The bonus option turns one of the reels into a Wild one. The slot features two types of free spins and two bonus games. The highest multiplier for five symbols of golden statues of a tiger is x3,000. Twin Spin by NetEnt is a five-reel slot that features 243 ways to produce winning combinations and an opportunity to win up to 270,000 coins. Two reels out of five will always have identical symbols. There may also be three or four reels, which will increase your chances to win. The highest multiplier for five pictures of gemstones is x1,000.

Gambling Legislation

The strictness of the Gambling Games Act can be explained by the circumstances by which it came into force. Back in 2009 there was a political scandal that involved lobbying for the amendments to the old Act on Games and Betting. The scandal was over slot machines, this is why the law virtually prohibits the slots and leaves them only within the casinos. Gambling Games Act regulates both land-based facilities and online platforms. The law subdivides gambling into three different classes: Games of luck (lotteries, roulette, cards, dice and bingo), Betting (racing and bookmaking) and Slot machines. Online business has no definition of its own. The law prescribes provisions for online gambling or betting. Minors (persons under the age of 18) can only participate in promo lotteries and raffles. All gambling games, bingo games, betting systems and slot machines are only placed on appropriate platforms: casinos, bingo halls and betting facilities.

Games that are allowed in Poland

Poker is defined as one of the games of luck. The only legal form of poker is tournaments organised in casinos with the participation of at least 10 players. Sports betting is allowed both online and in land-based establishments. Betting on the results of games of numbers (of keno type) is prohibited. The law also applies to bookmaking and betting on horse racing. Casino games are only allowed in appropriate facilities. They are cylindrical games (including roulette), card games (blackjack, poker, baccarat), dice and slot machines. Terminal games are included into the category of slot machines. Bingo and lotteries are subdivided into several types. They are regulated differently depending on the type. For example, money lotteries and Bingo is a state monopoly. Games of numbers (keno) are also legal, as long as they are organised by the state. Raffle salons can be opened with no permission required. It must also be noted that there is almost no bingo available in Poland.

Regulators

Gambling industry in Poland is regulated by the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry determines which games will be considered as gambling and issues licenses for casinos, bingo halls and betting points of sale. Compliance with the law is monitored by the Customs Chamber. Director of the Chamber issues permits for lotteries and bingo games, imposes fines for illegal operation and conducts inspections. Heads of customs offices in the provinces also conduct inspections and collect taxes.

Gambling Licenses

Licenses in Poland are subdivided into three different kinds: For casinos, For cash bingo salons and For betting The number of casinos and bingo halls is limited. Only one casino and one bingo hall can be opened for each 250,000 city residents. There is yet another limit of no more than one casino for 650,000 residents of the province. The establishments can also be opened on cruise ships. Licenses are issued for specific establishments such as casinos, bingo salons or facilities with games of numbers and sports betting. These are the events that are licensed separately: Poker tournaments and lottery drawings. Only companies that have an office registered in Poland can run a gaming establishment. These are the events that do not require any individual permit: Promo lotteries, Raffles and Bingo raffles. A package of documents must be submitted when applying for a license. The documents must contain the applicant's data, the details of what exactly is to be licensed and economic and financial plans of investments among other information to be provided. The insurance fee must also be paid for the casino license in the amount of 260,000 EUR. License for casinos, bingo and betting facilities remains valid for 6 years. Poker tournaments - 3 months, and raffles, promo lotteries and audio and TV lotteries is good for 2 years. Payments for a license for land-based establishments vary in the following way:

  • Casinos - 32,000% of the base amount or approximately 290,000 EUR
  • Bingo halls - 5,500% of the base amount or approximately 50,000 EUR
  • Betting permit - 2,000% of the base amount or approximately 18,000 EUR plus 50% from each bet making point
  • Raffles and bingo - 100% or 900 EUR If the game is conducted only in one province, it is 50% or 450 EUR
  • Promo lotteries and audio and TV lotteries - 10% of the total cost of prizes, but no less than 50% of the base amount (about 250 EUR)
  • Poker tournaments - 100% or 900 EUR

Base amount for a calendar year is an average monthly profit (excluding bonuses).

Online gambling in Poland

All casino games online are banned. Only online betting is allowed, which is taxed at 12% of the revenue. At the same time, the tax is levied on the bets placed by the players. An online operator must be physically present in Poland. The website must have a domain name that belongs to this country. All transactions must be made through Polish banks. As a result, only four operators were issued licenses for online gambling: Fortuna Entertainment, Milenium, STS and Totolek. The research conducted by the Ministry of Finance revealed that only 9% of players were using legal Polish websites. Over 20,000 people played on illegal websites. The overall amount of winnings was almost 6 million EUR. The ministry's website reported that criminal investigation was launched against over 1,000 people.  On the whole, the market of online games in Poland is estimated at 13 billion EUR annually, which means that the government loses almost 160 million EUR. In 2016 and 2017 operators started leaving the Polish market on a mass scale. William Hill suspended its operations in the county on April 1, 2017.

Development of the Gambling Market in Poland

Tightening legislation is hampering the development of the gambling market in Poland. The government is already losing pretty decent amounts. But so far the authorities prefer to prosecute the users for playing on illegal websites. Yet at the same time the production in the country is developed quite well: this is where many developers of slot games are located. On the whole, the future of the gambling market seems to be uncertain. When the authorities pass laws on regulating the gambling industry that are more sparing and reasonable, the situation may change in favour of its development.

Developers of gaming software products

Many famous companies have their offices in Poland. Most often they are studios that create slots and other games. Yggdrasil is an example: the office of the developers is located in Krakow, and the administrative office is in Malta. There are other developers of slot machines, casino games, cabinets and casino equipment: Apollo Games, Alpa Electronic Games, Gamesystem, Fox Group, Nowogames S.A and Synot Polska. Industry of manufacturing of casino products in Poland is pretty well developed.

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