Poland: Additional payment services available to operators regulated under the Polish Gambling Act

Changes to the Polish Gambling Act have broadened the array of payment service providers that Polish-licensed operators can use.

In October 2013, an amendment to the Polish Gambling Act came into force which changed the scope of permitted payment operators. Previously, any internet betting operator holding a valid Polish license could only receive and send money to and from bank accounts operated by:

  1. Polish banks;
  2. Polish branches of foreign banks; and
  3. Credit institutions (including those operating cross-border).

Following the October 2013 amendment – which resulted from the implementation of Directive 2009/110/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on the taking up, pursuit, and prudential supervision of the business of electronic money institutions, amending Directives 2005/60/EC and 2006/48/EC and repealing Directive 2000/46/EC – internet betting operators now have more flexibility. Namely, they can accept bets and pay winnings not only to and from bank accounts, but also with the use of payment accounts kept by:

  1. Polish banks;
  2. Polish branches of foreign banks;
  3. Credit institutions (including those operating cross-border); and
  4. Other institutions authorized to operate payment accounts under the Polish Act of 19 August 2011 on Payment Services.

In practice, this change means that as long as a domestic or EU payment institution or electronic money institution is authorized to operate a payment account in Poland (e.g. through a subsidiary, branch, or directly based on the freedom of service principle), any internet betting operator is permitted to use its services to accept bets from customers and/or to pay out winnings.

Taking into consideration the popularity of using electronic money to pay for goods and services on the Internet (and advantages such as the immediate transfer of funds or the security of traditional bank account/credit card details), the amendment should considerably facilitate betting over the Internet and encourage more users to place their bets in this way.

Furthermore, the amendment has created an opportunity for domestic or EU payment institutions and electronic money institutions to offer their services to Polish internet betting operators.

Should you have any questions regarding the above issue or need legal advice, please contact anna.wietrzynska-ciolkowska@dlapiper.com.