[Poland] Gambling act ammendment to curb informal business

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According to experts, the proposed changes will definitely help regulate the Polish sports betting industry, reduce the number of informal businesses and boost budget revenues. In an interview for Newseria, Wojciech Michałowski, president of bookmaking company E-Toto Zakłady Bukmacherskie, raises doubts about blocking payments to foreign websites as well as the sites themselves. Changing the 12% VAT to a 20% corporate income tax, however, is a good idea.

The changes made by Parliament are being welcomed by businesses, especially in the sports betting industry. Blocking payments to foreign websites and payments to their bank accounts helps curb informal business. Allowing advertising is also a good idea, as is controlling the access of minors to gambling and gaming – emphasizes Wojciech Michałowski in a interview with Newseria news agency.

The Ministry of Finance points out that the main goal of the amendment is providing players with the highest possible level of protection against the negative effects of gambling, as well as raising the level of public awareness about the dangers associated with illegal gambling. The changes are also intended to combat informal businesses, especially in terms of slot machines and online gambling.

– The changes currently being pushed through in Parliament are heading in the right direction. I am certain that they will be very helpful in terms of regulating Poland’s bookmaking industry, curbing informal business and increase budget revenues – says the expert.

He is wary, however, of the obligation to block illegal gambling websites which will be imposed on telecom operators under the new law.
– We still have no idea how the sites and transfers will be blocked. I think it is a very important factor and it should be specified to make sure it is actually carried out – says Michałowski.

Internet service providers will have to block the domains of gambling sites operating without the necessary licenses and permits. This in turn may force the biggest players on the market to register their services and obtain a Polish license. It is estimated that unregistered operators currently make up 90% of the market in terms of turnover (total rates) and earn 70% of its gross revenue.

-Advertising also requires clarification. While the proposed amendments do allow advertising, they also restrict the promotion of sports betting – he points out.

There have been demands to introduce the Danish model, which is very liberal when it comes to advertising and sponsorship. Bookmakers are not subject to gambling laws. Among those eager to create a similar law was, for example, Jarosław Gowin. Danish legislation allows sponsorship deals between licensed operators and sports teams. According to Michałowski, introducing a similar model would be beneficial to the state budget.

-Denmark used to have a system very similar to ours. After they switched to a more orderly system, the government noted a huge increase in budget revenues, which were a dozen times higher than before, ranging from tens to hundreds of millions of Euro – explains the expert.

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