As expected, president Andrzej Duda signed the amendment to the gambling act on 28 December 2016.
Information on the gambling act of 15 December 2016 and on amendments to the gambling act and other acts:
The fundamental goal of the act is to reduce the ‘grey economy’ in the field of slot machines and online games. The act will make changes to the following areas:
Firstly, in terms of regulations defining the act’s subject range. As set out in the modified definition of legal gambling games, the definition consists of: games of chance, mutual bets, card games and slot machine games. Because of the expansion of the number of games that can be played online, it was assumed that games of chance are games (including online games) played for cash or material prizes, where the result depends mostly on chance. At the same time, card games were removed from the catalog of games of chance and were assigned a separate category within gambling games. Furthermore, the act introduces changes in the legal definitions of two games of chance: cylindrical games, audiotext lotteries, slot machine games and bookmaking. Regulations concerning the Minister of Finance’s decision about the nature of games and bets were also subject to modification.
The second area of changes concerns operating online gambling games. The act expands the catalog of games which can be held online. With the exception of mutual bets and promotional lotteries, operating this type of games is run by a state monopoly. The amendment also establishes the legal grounds for blocking websites offering illegal games or payment services available on said websites. Because of this, the Minister of Finance has to run a database of domains used to offer such games. This database will be run on a computer system enabling the automatic transfer of information to computer systems of telecommunication companies and payment services suppliers. An entry into the database will consitute material-technical action and interested parties will be able to object to it.
The third area of changes concerns the state monopolization on operating slot machines outside of casinos. The monopoly will be implemented in game arcades defined as separate places, where slot machine games are operated on the grounds of approved terms and conditions, whereas the number of installed machines is from 3 to 50. The operator’s activities on behalf of the state monopoly shall be restricted in terms of arcade locations and the rules under which the games are operated. In order to protect customers from the negative effects of gambling, the act imposes a series of obligations concerning responsible gaming on the entity operating on behalf of the state monopoly.
The fourth area of changes concerns control over poker games. The act introduces the possibility of organizing such games by entities licensed to operate casinos as well as those who don’t have a license. Online poker games, however, will be held by entities operating o behalf of the state.
The fifth area of changes is to do with creating a new purposeful state fund i.e. The Fund for the Support of Civil Society, which will be held by the Prime Minister. The aim of this fund is to support the development of civil society by implementing solutions to strengthen and improve the quality of NGOs. The fund will gain profits from the 4% income on the basis of the gambling act.
Furthermore, the act introduces changes in: job certificates, the conditions and procedures for giving a license, mutual bet advertising, fines for infringing the regulations of the gambling act and editorial modifications.
The changes to the act of September 10, 1999 – the Penal and Fiscal code (Journal of Laws from 2013, pos, 186 with further amendments) introduce a regulation that penalizes the ownership of a slot machine against the license conditions, without an official assessment or without imposing the required official closure and modifications of the provision setting out a penalty for taking part in a illegal game. Changes to the act from made on November 16, 2016 about tax authorities (journal of laws pos. 1947) adapt, adjust and introduce regulations under which the ownership and production of slot machines is also subject to customs-fiscal audits.
The act will come into force on April 1, 2017, with the exception of regulations concerning blocking access to websites and offering payment services mentioned in the registry of internet domains used to offer unlawful gambling games, as well as regulations concerning financial penalties for violating duties in this area, which will come into force on July 1, 2017.