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Polish government maintaining an anti-online gambling stance

The Polish government maintained its anti-online gambling stance this week with an inequitable draft amendment to its gambling legislation that confirms bans on all forms of internet gambling, with the exception of sports betting.

Subject to jurisdictional limits, the ban includes tough punitive measures against the management of unlicensed sites, and even those within the country who facilitate or encourage internet gambling activity at unauthorised sites.

Legislative committees in the nation's parliament have advanced the amendments, which call for a high 12% tax on turnover for sports betting companies that successfully achieve licensed status and offer land or internet sports betting.

Other provisions follow what is becoming a European trend - companies must take out Polish internet domains, organise financial transactions through the Polish financial system, and locate their servers within Polish national boundaries. There is as yet no requirement to have a local office, however, where the operator is licensed in some other EU Member State.

There have been constraints on advertising, sponsorships and promotions since 2009 in Poland, and allied to the high tax and other provisions, these make for a tough operating environment.

Deputy Finance Minister Jacek Kapita told local media that he anticipated that the amended law could be implemented as soon as June this year following further discussion and legislative debate in parliament.

The latest developments follow amendments that go some way toward meeting the European Commission's opinion on an earlier draft submitted last year.

Poland's Totalizator Sportowy, which with two other companies - Totolotek and Professional - has previously dominated sports betting action in the Eastern European country, has already applied for permission to commence online operations to supplement declining earnings in the land operation. The company has been acquired by Stanleybet.

Bans on internet gambling go back as far as late 2009, and InfoPowa readers will recall reports last year that the government was seriously considering internet censorship through ISPs, a strategy that appears to have been abandoned in the face of fierce international protests.

Source: InfoPowa News

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