The new gambling law passed in June and implemented by PO-PSL coalition on July, 1st, 2016 freed the gambling market however it is still probably incompatible with the European Union law.
Jacek Kapica (45 years old in September), deputy Minister of Finance and the head of the Customs Service in 2008-2015 waged a private war with the slot machines owners. In 2009, he tried to delegalize slot machines everywhere except casinos. In 2012, The European Court of Justice predicated that the lack of notification to the European Commission makes the Polish gambling law incompatible with EU law, hence invalid. Kapica, ignoring the EU’s verdict commanded the customs officers to continue the confiscation of slot machines. The Polish Courts, however overruled these decisions and commanded returns, as well as payment of compensation. Therefore, in June 2015, the new gambling law was passed, which was enforced as early as September 3rd.
According to the decision of the regional court of Wałbrzych from September 9th 2015, the new regulations allow subjects to operate gambling machines without any restrictions until July 1st 2016, “The fact remaining significant for the Court’s assessment was that from September 3rd 2015, according to article four of the Act from 06.12.2015 amending the law about gambling entities, operators in the field of gambling (…) can operate with the acquiring of a concession to run a casino; however the legislator defined the time untill July 1st 2016 to adapt to the requirements of the gambling Act.” The law,which the Wałbrzych Court referred to, in reality for 10 months legalized everything with what Ministry of Finance fought since 2010.
What does this mean in practice? It implies immediate termination of all penal-administrative proceedings and the need to pay compensation. In fact, the legislators admitted that Kapica in 2009, led to the bill being passed, which not only deprived the budget of many billion PLN per year but also forced the country to pay compensation for unlawfully restrained slot machines and the denial of license renewals. The industry estimates that the compensation is already at 8 billions PLN (about 2 billions USD).
According to estimates there are about 50 thousand gambling machines on the market, roughly the same number as before the Jacek Kapica Act in 2010, however, then everything was under the control by the goverment and operators paid gambling taxes. Today – thanks to Kapica – slot machines owners only have to pay the income tax.