Poland Threatens to Prosecute Online Gamblers

Written by Michael F. on 2010-11-09 at 11:38
Online gambling sites in Poland - GamingZion
Spending at online gambling sites in Poland is up a full 20 percent over last year. By the end of 2010, Poles will have spent an estimated zł 4 billion ($1.4 billion), compared to zł 3.2 billion ($1.1 billion) in 2009. This rise in online gambling comes in spite of the fact that most forms of internet gambling are banned in Poland.

An act passed in October 2009 banned online gambling and related advertising, but the ban has clearly not been effective. In early 2010 the government even proposed an internet filter system to take control of internet gambling by blocking foreign-hosted gambling sites, but after petitions were sent to President Lech Kaczyński criticizing the plan, the idea was eventually abandoned.

Despite these laws, many foreign groups continue offer internet gambling in Poland. One of the more popular foreign gambling sites is Poker Stars, which not only offers a Polish-language version of their poker site, but even runs television adverts in the country, in clear defiance of local laws. Because the Polish PokerStars site is not hosted in Poland, authorities have little recourse under the current legal system.

Plans are in the works, to amend Polish gambling laws to further combat the situation, with changes coming as early as December of this year. The new laws, according to the Warsaw Business Journal, would allow individual gamblers to be prosecuted for using foreign-hosted gambling sites. It would also severely restrict the rules surrounding advertising, bringing foreign gambling adverts under the control of Polish law. Whether or not such radical gambling laws would be approved by the European Court of Justice remains to be seen.

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