Gambling legislation in Poland
A few decades ago, Poland became a fully democratic nation, getting rid of the communist past. In 2004, it joined the European Union. Still, not all of the country’s industries have democratic principles in place. Gambling, especially online, remains a heavily restricted sector.
From the 1980s to the early 1990s, Poland saw the flourishing of Internet betting; however, it was not regulated by the government in any way. Interestingly, even the gambling legislation introduced in 1992 did not change the situation. The new laws only made it harder for land-based gambling facilities to operate: since 1992, casinos could not be located in towns with a population of less than 250,000.
Today, there are nine land-based casinos in Poland. This number has remained the same over the past few years. Most of them are situated in hotels. Warsaw, the capital of Poland, has two land-based gambling venues.
In 2009, a new version of the gambling law was adopted. It banned gambling conducted over the Internet, and only sports betting was deemed legal. Then, in 2011, the law was amended again, now allowing operation of licensed establishments which were officially approved by the government. As a result, gamblers were able to play on sports betting sites and other platforms with predetermined odds.
At the moment, the entire iGaming industry in Poland is regulated by Totalizator Sportowy, the national lottery provider. The country also allows betting on websites that have Ukrainian, Russian and Curacao licenses.
Types of gambling allowed in Poland
As of today, the types of gambling activities that are legal in Poland include the following:
- Land-based casino games (poker tournaments, card games, table games, video slots);
- Betting on sporting events;
- National lotteries.
That said, some additional restrictions apply to these activities. For example, a legal poker tournament can only be held if it has at least 10 participants.
There are separate lists of permitted games for offline and online gambling. Among land-based establishments, casinos, bingo halls and bookmakers’ offices can operate legally. As for remote gambling, lottery companies and betting platforms are allowed. Another mandatory requirement is that all companies must be state-owned.
Gambling licensing in Poland
Polish licenses apply to operators, not particular gambling activities. There are no permits for specific types of gambling. It is obligatory to obtain a license for large gambling events, such as poker tournaments.
A license issued for a poker tournament is valid for three months. If an event ends earlier, a license must be revoked. For all other gambling facilities, a license is issued for a period of five years with periodic audits.
The law includes restrictions on the number of gambling establishments for each of Poland’s regions. Because of that, even if a company meets all the existing requirements, it is not guaranteed a license. In a city of 250,000 people, only one gambling venue can be opened. Two facilities are only allowed in large cities with over 500,000 residents.
For bingo halls, the rules are less strict. One venue is allowed for every 100,000 inhabitants of a region.
There are other requirements for those who want to legally operate a gambling business in Poland. A physical office in the country is mandatory. Applicants also have to submit the following documents:
- Company details;
- Specifics of a casino’s operations;
- Information about financing, etc.
Gambling taxes in Poland
Like any other business in Poland, gambling operators are subject to taxation. The rates depend on the type of gambling services provided:
- 50% of profit from video slots, table games, and card games;
- 10% of profit from lotteries;
- 12% of profit from sports betting;
- 25% of profit from poker and bingo.
In order to legally work in Poland, a gambling operator must obtain a license. The country has rather strict gambling legislation. Even if a company meets all requirements, it cannot operate in a region with an insufficient number of residents.