Poland: Government moves to update gambling legislation

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The Ministry of Finance has recently published a new draft amendment to the Polish Gambling Act. It includes a number of significant measures aimed at facilitating the application of Poland’s strict gambling regulations.

Firstly, the proposed amendment will put an end to the discriminatory rules which deny EU entrepreneurs the right to conduct gambling activity in Poland. Should the new regulations be adopted, any gambling operator incorporated as a limited liability company or joint-stock company with its registered seat in an EU member state, Norway, Iceland, or Lichtenstein will be able to set up its gambling business in Poland in the form of a branch, i.e. it will no longer be required to incorporate a separate Polish limited liability or joint stock company. However, since the permitted form is a branch, the gambling operator will have to keep its branch’s books and records in Polish and the branch will be deemed as a permanent establishment for tax purposes. This change is long overdue, especially in the light of ECJ rulings regarding similar constraints existing in the legal frameworks of other EU member states which were found to be contrary to EU regulations. The Polish government believes that the change will increase the willingness of EU betting operators to establish a branch in Poland and apply for a Polish license.

Secondly, the draft amendment will impose an obligation on bookmakers to adopt a policy of responsible betting, i.e. they should always verify the age of the player, provide the records of the wins and losses of each player at his/her request, and inform a player by means of a special audio signal about each hour spent on their gambling website. The acceptance of bets on the results of virtual events (e.g. virtual tournaments) or the results of number games will be expressly prohibited.

Thirdly, the government wants to remove some of the formalities concerning prize lotteries and prize bingo games. Once the draft amendment is adopted,  if such a lottery/game is organised by a public benefit organization, an orphanage, a kindergarten, a church etc., in the majority of cases only a notification will be required (not a permit). Moreover, the whole procedure should be less time-consuming due to shorter time frames stipulated in the amended Gambling Act.

The draft amendment has been submitted for inter-ministerial consultation and further discussion.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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