The State of Online Gambling in Poland

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Poland has one of the largest gambling industries in Europe. It’s also one of the most intriguing in the region. The 2009 Act regulates Poland’s gambling industry on Gambling Games, which had extreme updates in 2017. These changes in the law led to unexpected growth in revenue. The Polish gambling industry’s worth jumped from €0.11 billion in 2015 to €5 billion in 2020. Just for comparison, the Croatian gambling industry is barely worth €350 million.

Why is the Polish gambling industry so unique, and what is the current state of online gambling in Poland? Continue reading to find out more.

Strict Regulations

Overhauling the 2009 Act on Gambling Games in 2017, the Ministry of Finance gained complete control over Polish gambling. That led to the blacklisting of all on-site and online unlicensed products. Moreover, the country has only one legal online casino, and it’s a state-owned company. It’s known as Total Casino, launched in 2018 by Totalizator Sportowy.

LTDs run some other licensed online casino brands, but all they are allowed to offer is promotional lotteries and sports betting. If a Polish resident is caught betting on unlicensed gambling sites or unlicensed slots, the fine can reach up to €975,740.

Such strict rules targeting consumers aren’t seen in other developed markets, like the United Kingdom, for example. This country doesn’t quite prosecute residents who play at illegal gambling sites. And it seems it doesn’t need to anyway, as over 90% of UK players tend to stick to regulated online casinos.

Poland is also regularly running anti-gambling campaigns. One of the most famous campaigns is the “Gambling? Don’t Get Involved!”, which is meant for children between the ages of 12 and 14.

Gambling Addiction

The main reason for these strict regulations is that Poland was dealing with serious gambling addiction rates. Fortunately, after the changes were made, the number of pathological bettors in Poland dropped by almost 20% in five years.

Still, research has shown that even with the new regulations, among all gamblers, 26.8% are reported to be at risk of gambling addiction. The same study also discovered that 4.1% of Poles made an online bet last year. The most popular online gambling and betting products were lotteries, sports, and esports.

Illegal Gambling

Despite the strict regulations and high fines, Poland still struggles with illegal betting. According to some estimates, companies without licenses hold about 50% of the gambling market. That has a severe impact on both Polish citizens and the state treasury.

The main reason why many small companies decide to run illegal betting sites lies in the massive 12% tax on turnover. This percentage may be the difference between success and closing the company for small businesses. That is why some small companies with a license offer only sporting competitions with animals. Betting on animal sports is taxed at 2.5%.

As illegal and unlicensed gambling websites continue to grow, the Polish Ministry of Finance has seized over 60,000 slot machines to protect the state’s monopoly. That is not nearly enough to destroy the illegal gambling industry, but it’s definitely a start.

Final Words

Poland, without a doubt, has one of the most exciting gambling industries. Even with the strict laws and high fines, it brings back massive revenue that reached €5 billion in 2020. Based on some predictions, this number will exponentially grow in the next five to ten years, especially with the rise of online gambling.

Lastly, Poland still struggles with massive gambling addiction and illegal betting. Yet, the Ministry of Finance seems invested in doing everything possible to fight back on both fronts.