Polish Online Casino Monoply Delayed Until End of 2018January 5, 2018 2:43 pm
Poland’s Deputy Finance Minister Piotr Walczak has confirmed that his country would be launching its state-run online casino towards the end of 2018, with the announcement coming in response to a freedom of information clarification request made by opposition party members Joanna Frydrych and Agnieszka Kolacz-Leszczynska.
Walczak also made it clear that Totalizator Sportowy, the Polish national lottery company charged with running the online casino operation, is currently far behind schedule and not expected to complete its task before the third quarter of 2018 at the earliest.
Last April, Poland liberalized its online gambling market to allow international companies to apply to the Finance Ministry for sports betting licenses. However, Totalizator Sportowy was given an exclusive monopoly over online casino games, as well as a number of other gambling activities both online and land-based, including the placing of slot machines at venues outside of the country’s brick-and-mortar casinos.
This then led to a mass exodus of online gambling firms from the country, including William Hill, 888, Bet365, Ladbrokes Paddy Power-Betfair, and Party Gaming. In the meantime, Poland’s gambling regulatory authority has been targeting any online gambling operators flaunting the new laws, with multiple websites having already been blocked since April. In fact, Poland has now blacklisted and blocked 1,303 domains, with the long list of offenders including the likes of 1xbet, Betrally, RUbet and Dotabet.
At the same time, few gambling sites seem to have been tempted to apply for official licenses to operate in the country of 38 million people. A major reason for this is the exorbitant tax levels approved by the state which has been set at 12% on turnover. Furthermore, Polish gamblers are also taxed at a rate of 10% on any winnings over US $663, with the new tax regime officially launched on January 1st.
Nevertheless, the Ministry of Finance appears content with the way the industry is progressing thus far, especially as the licensed Polish online betting market reportedly generated PLN 137.8 million ($40m) over the first nine months of last year.