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Poland - online gambling regulations

Published by Niki | August 18, 2020

Online gambling regulations, laws and taxes in Poland

Whenever you are feeling frustrated, in the mood for some fun or just feeling extra lucky, the first thing you want to do is head to an online casino and test the waters. Online gambling is an amazing source of fun for those of all legal gambling ages.

The one thing most people fail to do is read up on the gambling laws and regulations in their country. This might not seem like a big deal, as most countries have gone about legalizing online gambling and using it to cash in on extra annual revenue.

The truth is that there are still a few countries which have chosen to actively ban all forms of online gambling, or to legalize it but completely monopolise the market. For Polish citizens, the latter is the case. The Polish government has worked hard to open the market but keep a monopoly on it.

If you are unsure of what to do, where to play and what the law says, this guide is for you. By the time you’ve reached the end of the article you will know what to do and whether or not playing at an online casino in Poland is safe.

Online gambling regulations in Poland

The history and laws surrounding gambling in Poland

Before the 1990’s the gambling industry wasn’t really considered a big deal in Poland. It was only in 1992 that Gambling Law changed the gambling environment in the country.

Poland is considered to be one of the countries with rather tragic gambling history. Once the new Polish Republic came into existence in 1992, it wrote its own gambling laws. The first law covered all games of chance, mutual betting and automatic games. This is just a brief overview, as these laws cover all betting games.

One of the main things the new legislation did was to restrict casino operators within the country. The legislation went as far as prohibiting foreign investors from owning shares in gambling establishments and limiting the number of casinos in the country. Taxes were also raised on gambling establishments, which resulted in many closing down.

This did not deter citizens from developing a love for gambling, and Poland quickly became known for having one of the largest gambling industries in Eastern Europe. It was only when changes were brought in to gambling laws in 2009 that online gambling was mentioned. At this time online gambling was prohibited. The law even stated that it was illegal for players themselves to participate in online gambling activities, even on foreign sites. Unfortunately, this was not very successful, as very little was done to prohibit players from gaining access to foreign online casino sites.

Again in May 2011 changes were made to the gambling law. Currently, gambling and online gambling is legal in Poland. The legislation is again very restrictive, as many forms of online Poker and online casinos are considered illegal. Polish citizens are only allowed to partake in sports betting activities. The problem with this is that very little was being done about restricting access to foreign sites.

In 2014 the Polish Ministry of Finance made an official announcement stating that Polish players could face legal action if they were caught taking part in online gambling activities on foreign sites. The announcement also revealed that the Ministry had information on over 24,000 players who had been participating in gambling overseas.

Early in 2017 new gambling regulations were put in place in Poland. The new legislation made it possible for international operators to apply for sports betting licenses. Totalizator Sportowy, however, was granted a total monopoly overall online casino game offerings as well as other land-based and online gambling activities. The good news is that the new legislation made room for the addition of slots but these can only be provided by Totalizator Sportowy.

The authorities have also started their hunt on illegal online gambling operators, and have blocked many unauthorized websites. To date, the Ministry of Finance has blocked over 1,303 domains. The strict legislation has also put a damper on interest from foreign operators.

Are online gambling winnings taxable in Poland?

Taxes are probably the least favourite subject for anyone of an age required to pay taxes. Unfortunately, it is one of the things one needs to know before entering the world of online gambling entertainment. Currently, sports bettors that receive any winnings from local online sites are paying 10% tax. The tax is withheld at the source, so players don’t need to declare winnings or pay additional taxes.

No taxes are charged when playing at foreign sites, as this is considered to be an illegal activity. There is also a 10% tax on all lottery and casino winnings above PLN 2,280 but again this is withheld at the source. Thus, even if you win you will be paying tax, but it will be deducted before you receive your winnings.

The downside for operators is that all licensed operators are required to pay 12% tax on turnover. Some have even stated that the tax rate is way too high for the size of the Polish market.

Is it legal to gamble online in Poland?

There are some forms of legal online gambling within the country, but if you are looking for casino games you’ll have to play them on sites by Totalizator Sportowy. All foreign casino sites offering anything other than sports betting are considered illegal.

In most countries, the authorities are focused on punishing site owners rather than individual players. In Poland however, the government has made it clear that individuals caught taking part in illegal gambling activities could face legal charges. As a Polish citizen, this might seem strange as there are plenty of online casinos offering their services to Polish players.

Online gambling is only considered legal when done at government-approved sites. Playing at any foreign sites is not recommended as you could land in hot water if the authorities find you. There are, however, still some players who are prepared to take the heat and continue to play at some of the top international online casinos.

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