Poland has found itself in the center of world politics in the past, and given the amount of strife that country has gone through, it is surprisingly liberal on many fronts. This includes its stance on gambling over the years, which, like most countries in the European Union, has had its fair share of ups and downs. One thing remains clear: Polish citizens love to play casino games. From slots to Table Games to video poker, the revenue generated from that country is not insignificant.
However, in recent years, the government has taken steps to try to gain control back from offshore operations. This has resulted in a backlash from the EU and a growing negative response from players who were once able to play at whatever site they wanted.
Gambling Regulations in Poland
In the 1980s as gambling grew in popularity in Poland, the government seemed to not care about regulating the industry. IN fact, it was only in 1992 that they started any sort of regulation, limiting casinos from being built in any city that was smaller than 250,000 people. Still, gambling was growing exponentially, and this, of course, continued right into the online gambling boom in the early 2000s.
Despite Polish players being able to play with online gambling sites that were paying no tax dollars into the Polish coffers, the country continued to turn a blind eye to the industry. That was the case until late in the decade, when new legislation was introduced that would change the landscape in Poland forever.
The Polish Act on Gaming was passed in 2010, and this provided a list of specific rules and regulations that land-based sites needed to follow to stay out of trouble. The number of land-based licenses was reduced, and the country was split into multiple regions with limits on the number of casinos in each. As a result, the country was reduced to 15 land-based casino licenses, which is where players now had to go to play their favorite slots games.
This new legislation drew a line in the sand when it came to online gambling as well. The Gaming Act also made all forms of gambling online illegal except sports betting. This curtailed the growth of the industry severely but didn’t stop Polish players from gambling at offshore sites that were still willing to take the action.
As the years progressed since 2010, the country has taken several steps in opposite directions when it comes to online gambling. Slowly, the country started to loosen its grip on legalized online gambling, allowing certain offshore sportsbook and poker sites to apply for licensing. This all changed again in 2016 when the government took a 180-degree turn and created even more stringent regulations around who could receive a license. The only company that was granted a license for online gambling in the new regime is the state-run Totalizator Sportowy. This license was no longer for only sports betting but all games of chance including slot machines. However, the restriction of sole licensing was limited to the slots portion of the industry, with poker and sports betting sited still able to apply. As you can see, the whole thing has become very confusing.
This news was met with negativity from the online gambling industry, but that didn’t stop big sites like Bet365 from deciding to block players from Poland rather than risk prosecution. In the meantime, the government has created a Blacklist of sites they consider to be operating illegally, and it has asked local ISPs to block these sites from Polish residents.
While it is hard to say where all of this will end up, it is safe to say the EU will have its ay, as the position that Poland had taken with regards to licensing violates the anti-trust agreement that the nations in the
EU agreed to when the Union was created. Also, the tax is levied on sports betting sites of 12% of GGR has made it too costly for many operators to bother with the country.
Online Casino Software Available in Poland
Despite all of these changes to the regulations, Polish players are still finding their way to offshore sites. These sites, which are willing to take the risk of accepting bets from Poland assuming they will not be prosecuted, are using some of the best software out on the market today. You will find slots games from the following vendors still available for Polish access:
- Real Time Gaming
While some of these suppliers may pull out of the market as a result of the Blacklist, only time will tell how long they will be gone for until changes are once again made by the government.
Best Online Casinos for Polish Players
Polish players deserve the best when it comes to the casino sites they choose to spend their money with, so we do everything we can to find sites that we feel comfortable recommending to our readers. Our team of experts looks at all parts of a casino site, including the promotions and VIP programs offered to players, and we have come up with this list of highly-rated sites for you to try.