Why Poland must legalise “secure” operators

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The head of one of Poland’s biggest lottery and gaming companies believes that its responsible approach to gambling should be considered in a liberalisation of the country’s online market.

Totalizator Sportowy chief executive Wojciech Szpil, who is to speak at tomorrow’s (Wednesday) World Regulatory Briefing (WrB) Eastern Europe event in Bucharest, will tell attendees about his company’s focus on public safety, which is in contrast to a growing illegal market in Poland.

Totalizator Sportowy is frustrated that its eclectic offering is not available online in Poland because only sports betting is allowed via the internet under the country’s highly restrictive 2011 Gambling Act.

Szpil explained that the company’s “objective is to sell safe entertainment instead of generating maximum sales and profit” and that corporate social responsibility is at the core of all of its marketing campaigns.

“It is incomprehensible why products which are much more hazardous than gambling are available on the internet while secure products such as numbers games and lotteries are not,” Szpil told TotallyGaming.com.

“For some years now, the major talking point within the gambling sector is the growing grey market. Year after year we observe an increase in illegal operators who do not pay taxes to the State Treasury and are not covered by the regulations protecting players against unwanted behaviours.

“Another issue which is discussed, without any conclusions drawn, is the necessity of opening the Polish market to the sales of numbers games and lotteries on the internet.”

More than 50 organisations will be present at WrB Eastern Europe, with experts giving the latest news and opinions on developments in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Romania.

Szpil will bring his expertise on the Polish market to a debate entitled ‘Accessing Eastern Europe from a regulatory and cultural perspective’, in which the panel will consider responsible gambling, the key challenges of penetrating Eastern European markets and future trends. He also brings a track record of success with Totalizator Sportowy, which offers a number of lottery, keno and scratch card games through more than 14,000 points of sale, expected to see its profits soar by 20 per cent this year.

“Those who attend the discussion will benefit from my experience in one of the fastest developing and most innovative lotteries in Europe,” Szpil said. “They will also get information about the product mix and marketing mix composition, as well as the structure and method of management of an extensive state-of-the-art sales network.”

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