Poland gets Serious about Unlicensed Gaming

Published on 27 November 2014 by Rhi

Poland gets Serious about Unlicensed GamingPoland is already a tough market when it comes to online casinos; they’re a regulated market meaning Netent casinos must have a Polish issued license in order to operate and advertise to Polish players. However, unattractive tax rates and an expensive licensing process means that only 4 online gaming licenses currently hold a Polish license.

Polish people love (and frankly, deserve) choice though, and it’s estimated that a staggering 91% of online gaming in Poland is done via ‘unlicensed’ operators- meaning they are licensed in Europe, but not by Poland.

Previously Poland focused on targeting those casinos engaging in marketing activities in Poland and gaming companies found to be advertising to Polish players were hit with hefty fines and even prosecution but in a shock new move, Poland have declared that they will now target the players themselves. Those found to be playing on ‘unlicensed’ sites face being hit with huge fines themselves, as well as prosecution with the very real chance of a prison sentence of up to three years.

Players in Poland should consider this a very real threat and are right to be worried- the Polish regulators claim to be holding information on over 20,000 players who they suspect are playing on casinos who do not hold a Polish license.

This does seem like an incredibly harsh move, but it comes with the best interests- according to EU law, a country can set up it’s own licensing body and require all casinos operating there to apply for their own license, but only in the interest of the players (and not for the countries financial gain). Poland wants to channel their residents into licensed casinos, which they hold more control over, but with their bad licensing structure, it’s unlikely that many will consider the license one it’s financially viable to apply for.

The country did recently make a concession and change one requirement- until very recently a casino had to have a physical operation (such as an office) in Poland in order to be considered but this has since been removed. Maybe if they looked at other regulators in the EU, they’d be able to amend their current structure to one which casinos are reasonably able to go for.