An investigation report from the Polish legal association “Graj Legalnie” has alleged that regardless of the amendment to the country’s gambling act, more than 60% of the Polish gambling market is controlled and abuse by unlicensed bookmakers.
The legislation changes made in the last month of 2016 indicate that the bookmakers who work in Poland need to pay 12% tax on turnover, which has between the highest taxes in Europe, and this caused occasion for many operators, including names like William Hill to withdraw from their gambling market.
However, there is more than a year from the changes in the Polish legislation, and the results from the report evaluate that the tax has increased over PLN 396 million for the Polish economy. On the other hand, the Polish legal association “Graj Legalnie” has claimed that if the new law was completely implemented, the state income will increase and the amount roughly will be PLN 594 million.
In the meantime, while the regulatory changes, the Register of Domains for Illegal Offering of Gambling was made and as a result from this, there was blacklisting with more than 1,200 gambling website domains to date and blocking access to these sites for Polish gambling players.
“Good” to know is that the list is not complete because is not updated at a regular time. The operators to avoid to be blacklisted have implemented tactics they often change their domain names and with this plan, they succeed to carry on with operating uncontrolled.
Opposite the unlicensed, there are also licensed companies, such as STS which is the largest Polish bookmaker company, which accepts bets on the results of sports and socio-political events. The company was founded in 1997 and since then has successfully operated throughout the country, employing nearly 1,300 people. STS continuously invests in the development of modern and innovative technologies, thanks to which it distanced domestic competitors and has the biggest market share with 48%.
At the same time, Fortuna Entertainment Group was established in 2009 and it is the between the largest Central European betting operator. Originally a Czech firm, it has grown into a holding company over time, and it now also operates on the Slovak, Polish, Romanian and Croatian markets. The group is constantly investing in new products and expanding its existing network of branches and services.
Also, Totolotek S.A. has been a promoter of legal betting in Poland since 1992. Company’s activity is based on the Gambling Act and concessions and statutes granted by Polish Ministry of Finance. Totolotek S.A. uses the largest network of points of sales in Poland, numbering over 350 points, all over the country. The sales network is constantly evolving with new locations. In 2013 the Company received a license which allowed organizing the online betting.
However, these two operators, one Czech and one domestic from Poland are the next biggest gambling operators on the Polish market, Fortuna with 31% and Totolotek with 10%.
Without being affected by the high series of restriction, the legal gambling sector is going up in a positive way, with distributing of PLN 3.3bn in 2017, almost double the PLN 1.7bn turnover reported in 2016.
A member of the Graj Legalnie Association, Łukasz Borkowski mater of the illegal operators said: “In our opinion blocking of illegal operators’ websites and payments must be more effective. The Polish Ministry of Finance should update The Register of Domains for Illegal Offering of Gambling more frequently and efficiently.
“It will lead to fairer competition on the Polish bookmaking market and reduce the ‘grey market’ in the Polish betting industry.”