The past few months have been hard on Internet gambling in Poland. Late last year, the country’s sports minister resigned due to a shady gambling tax deal, then shortly afterwards the Prime Minister declared war on internet gambling. In fact, the government announced in early February 2010 that they would be censoring the internet, blocking all internet gambling websites. This plan, however, was withdrawn a few weeks later.
As of the first of the year, new legislation went into force in Poland that set out to change the face of the country’s online gambling market. One of the first effects of this new legislation can now be seen – the Polish Football Association has cut loose its online gambling sponsorships. Specifically, their title sponsorship contract with UniBet has been severed. As a result, the Polish First League stadium will lose its UniBet name, and all UniBet branding will be removed from stadiums across the country.
This war against online gambling in Poland will be fought on many fronts. All gambling outside of registered casinos is now forbidden, and all gambling-related advertising has been banned. The sports sponsorship situation is somewhat of a gray area still – even though the UniBet contract has been ended, Polish teams still have deals with several other internet sportsbooks.
Some believe the government is “too late”, and that the intense UniBet advertising in recent months has already made the company the most recognized online sportsbook in Poland. Kasia Davies, Unibet’s Head of Marketing in Central and Eastern Europe, remains positive. “We hope that soon all doubt arising from the new gambling law will be clarified, and if there is a chance to continue our cooperation, we will.”