[Poland] The Government may face problems with bookmakers

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According to experts, the changes in law proposed by the Ministry of Finance will not solve the problems of an industry dominated by unlicensed entities.

International consultaning company Roland Berger recently conducted an analysis of the Polish bookmaking market as well as the draft of an act regulating it for the European Remote Gambling Association (whose members include Bet 365 and Sportingbet). The new act is due to come in to force in January. The experts have no doubt that the proverbial carrot, not the stick, is the key to convincing unlicensed companies to register their businesses.

In order to place a bet legally, you have to go to a licensed bookmaker, register with your identity card and play 12% tax on your bets. It is no wonder that 90% of the market worth over 5 billion PLN consists of companies registered in Gibraltar or Cyprus, which offer better rates and simple registration systems. The Polish Government Budget is missing out on a lot of profits.

The Ministry of Finance has decided to put an end to unregistered companies by blocking their websites as well as payments to their accounts. The legal segment is to rise from 10% to 60%, while the budget is due to gain 1,5 billion PLN per annum.

According to the experts at Roland Berger, it won’t work. They point to other coutries which adopted similar practices, such as France, arguing that manually searching and blocking bookmaking websites is a losing game. Such websites can change their addresses quickly and users can easily avoid DNS blocking by making simple changes in their computer systems. This was observed, among others, in Italy.

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