Poland Now Bans Online PokerJune 23, 2011 10:49 am
Poland has now banned online poker after President Bronislaw Komorowski signed a decree forbidding online organisation and participation in the game within the EU member country.
The country’s latest move is seen as an attempt to regulate Poland’s online gaming and betting market, with so-called acceptable forms of online wagering such as sports betting and horse racing still allowed.
The reason given behind permitting these ‘acceptable forms of gambling’ is that the results of these events are seen as dependent on “real events” and not generated by a system provider.
On the other hand, online poker was viewed much less favourably because of the perceived highly addictive nature of the game, as well as the difficulty in preventing online collusion and cheating. As was reported in a Polish article this week:
“Jacek Kapica, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, believes that poker is a gambling game, based on a random element (a hand of cards), as it was confirmed by the Administrative Court verdict. Worse, it’s a game, leading to addiction, because of direct participation in it which is followed by its immediate results.”
Another major factor concerning the Polish government was the potential for money laundering and avoiding paying taxes, for instance by the practice of “chip dumping.” This is where a player deliberately loses money to another player as a means of transferring funds to that person.
The ban is now expected to pass into law by July. In the meantime, Poland’s decision has come under attack from other member states who believe the law is counter to EU competition rules. As Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association Sigrid Ligné commented:
“We support the Polish government’s intention to join the growing number of countries regulating the online gaming and betting market in the EU. However, the current draft foresees a wide range of obstacles and obligations which will make it highly difficult for EU licensed and regulated operators to apply for a license in Poland. We urge Poland to revise its draft and align it with the requirements of the EU Treaty.”