On April 1, Poland’s Deputy Finance Minister, Jacek Kapita, held a press conference to announce the new draft legislation to strengthen the current Polish gambling laws. The amendment reaffirms Poland’s positions as one of Europe’s leading opponents of online-gambling.
After an almost thirty minute long, heartfelt speech vilifying online gambling in Poland as the root of all social ills – responsible for broken families, theft and truancy, psychiatric disorders, poverty, prostitution, organized crime and low population growth.
The reporters present were astonished when in the middle of a sentence, the Deputy Minister, paused and suddenly began praising online sportsbooks, bookies, and punters with the same passion and conviction he earlier directed against all other forms of gambling and illegal online casinos in Poland
Mr. Kapita’s enthusiastically described the wide range of benefits that licensed and taxed online sportsbooks will bring – vividly describing new schools, playground, senior citizen centers, employment opportunities, hospitals and orphanages to improve the quality of life of average Poles.
The few members of the foreign press corps initially thought the entire speech was an April Fool’s Day joke until a press release was handed out and the conference ended.
The press release indicated that by July, 2011 the updated Polish gambling laws will take effect forbidding all forms of online gambling except internet bookmakers. The government will introduce a hefty 12% tax on all revenues from online sportsbooks in Poland as well as introduce a non-refundable application fee to initiate the licensing review process.
All domestic and foreign sportsbooks interested in an online license, must agree to host the sportsbook on a server within Poland, must use a Polish domain name with the (.pl) extension, and must use Polish banks and financial institutions as the primary agent for all financial transactions.
The biggest bookmaker in Poland, Totolotek, has 450 outlets throughout the country and offers a diverse selection of sports betting options. Totolotek is currently lobbying the government to grant it the very first online sportsbook license this summer.