Poland working on liberalised gambling

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The Polish government is working on a new gambling bill, which will liberalise sports betting and online poker, said deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin on Monday.

Gowin, who is also the Science and Higher Education Minister, told Polish Radio that “Poland suffered enormous, multibillion losses” as a result of a bill introduced by the previous Polish government.

He was referring to the Gambling Act, introduced in 2009 by then prime minister Donald Tusk, which banned gambling outside casinos and online.

“That is why a few months ago we decided to change the law so that money flowed back into the budget,” Gowin said.

He added that Poland has consulted with the European Commission, which gave its green light to move ahead.

According to the latest draft, slot machines would be nationalised, operating under the national lottery services.

However, Govin said, bookmakers would still operate in the fringe economy. “Over the next several months gambling will remain in [a shady area of the economy], and Poles will continue to lose PLN 100-300 million a month,” Gowin said.

He added that the bill would not be changed any time soon because it would “pose a threat to the notification” by the European Commission.

Another bill will be planned once the law goes through, Gowin said. This would “liberalise” the system in such a way that it would be “safe to use bookmaker services, and play poker online”.

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