Poland’s State-Run Online Casino to Go Live in Late 2018

Poland’s state-run online casino will not be launched before the third or fourth quarter of the year, the country’s Deputy Finance Minister Piotr Walczak confirmed late last year. The politician also pointed out that Totalizator Sportowy, the national lottery operator tasked with running online casino operations, is well behind schedule on launching such operations.

Mr. Walczak’s comments came shortly after two opposition party members, Joanna Frydrych and Agnieszka Kołacz-Leszczyńska, had filed freedom of information requests compelling the Polish Ministry of Finance to provide more information on the matter.

It was last April well new gambling regulations took effect in Poland. These made it possible for international operators to apply for sports betting licenses from the Finance Ministry, but granted Totalizator Sportowy the monopoly over the operation of online casino games and several other gambling activities, both land-based and online ones.

The lottery operator was supposed to open a bidding process for a preferred supplier of content for its casino website in late August 2017. However, Minister Walczak revealed that the process was eventually opened in November. Totalizator Sportowy is yet to select who is going to supply it with the necessary software for the operation of an online casino. The operator is currently reviewing the applications received and is in talks with the bidders. It is yet unknown when the winning supplier will be announced.

Poland’s new gambling regime also allowed Totalizator Sportowy to add slot machines at locations beyond the country’s land-based casinos. While the operator delayed the roll-out of the gaming devices, Minister Walczak said in late December that this is likely to happen before the end of this year’s first quarter.

Growing Blacklist

Poland’s new gambling regulatory regime came into effect last April, and with that the country’s Finance Ministry began a witch-hunt for gambling operators violating the new laws. Multiple unauthorized websites have been blocked since then and the gambling market purge is continuing to this day.

The Ministry’s blacklist has been growing with exponential rate and as of today, it contains 1,303 blocked domains. While that figure speaks a lot about Poland’s popularity among gambling operators, it is important to note that the country’s new regulatory regime has so far failed to attract many license applications.

One of the main reasons why operators, including some of the big industry players, have steered away from Poland’s newly regulated market is its taxation system. Polish lawmakers approved a rate too high for a market of Poland’s size. Licensed operators are now taxed at 12% on turnover. Here it is important to note that turnover as a tax base is the worst possible taxation system within the gambling industry and is usually highly contested anywhere it is applied. The case has not been different in Poland.

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