Clarifying The Online Poker Landscape in Poland
Last month, Poland's Council of Ministers adopted an amendment to the Polish Gambling Act allowing for more games to be offered online for real money and for land-based poker tournaments outside of casinos. However, ring games and sit-and-go tournaments will still be prohibited outside of casinos.
Despite many earlier reports by poker news outlets, including ours that stated there would be a path for foreign online poker operators to be licensed in Poland, most online gaming including online poker are planned to be strictly controlled by a state-owned monopoly. Due to conflicting information reported about this, we asked DLA Piper legal gaming expert Anna Wietrzynska-Ciolkowska for some clarification who confirmed that, "Online poker will be covered by the state monopoly."
While more online games will be available to players, including online casino games and video-slots, these games are also planned to only be legally offered though the state-monopoly. One reason for this could be that the Council of Ministers consistently stating that slots are "one of the most addictive forms of gambling."
Many believe that with such restrictive offerings, little will be done to reign-in the huge grey-market existing for online gaming in Poland. However, the amendments which are proposed to be effective on January 1, 2017, also call for telecom companies to blacklist unregulated website and block IP address of unlicensed operators.
Only offering online poker and casino games through a state-monopoly could prove problematic for Poland. Wietrzynska-Ciolkowska also raises concerns sharing with PokerNews that, "I don't find any justification to the draft and arguments to the adequacy of proportionality of such measures of the state monopoly [to EU law]. Just that it protects the customer. So that might be some grounds for other countries to raise objections or for the European Commission to raise objections."
Stay tuned at PokerNews as more develops in the Polish gaming marketplace.
Lead image courtesy of deviantart.net.