Last Thursday (Sejm) and Friday (Senat), an amendment to the Polish Gambling Act was adopted. Once signed by the Polish president and published, it will come into force on 1 April 2017. Its official aim is to increase the protection of players against risks related to excessive gambling and to decrease the unlicensed market. However, it extends the number of games permitted in Poland and includes a couple of revolutionary changes:
- More online gambling games permitted in Poland – so far it has only been online betting and online promotional lotteries; now, all types of online gambling games, including bingo, casino and poker will be permitted;
- Entire online gambling sector in Poland to fall under the purview of the state monopoly with the exception of online betting and online promotional lotteries organised under a Polish licence;
- The operation of slot machines outside casinos to fall under the purview of the state monopoly, which will run a network of gaming machine venues; the initial limit of 60,000 slot machines was removed from the amended Act;
- Partial liberalisation of poker tournaments – land-based poker tournaments will be permitted outside casinos upon obtaining a licence or filing a notification; however, online poker will be covered by the state monopoly, as mentioned in point 1 above;
- IP and payment blocking for any unlicensed operators by no later than 1 July 2017;
- From 1 April 2017 it will be prohibited to possess any slot machines without a licence or registration;
- Provisions regulating advertising will be changed to allow limited advertising of betting operated under a Polish licence;
- Offering and advertising of banking services will be prohibited in gaming machine venues and on online gambling games websites;
- Responsible gaming policies will be adopted by gambling games operators;
- A new fund will be created from additional payments – the Fund for the Development of Civil Society.
The amendment will not change the taxation on gambling in Poland for GGR. However, in this respect a separate amendment is planned at some stage in the future.