Gambling Law in Poland
Online gambling is largely banned in Poland, but that doesn't stop Polish gamblers from accessing any game they want, any time they want. The situation in Poland is similar to that in the United States in that there are very few providers of games and people instead look to foreign websites to scratch the gambling itch.
Players from Poland do have it a little easier than their US counterparts because the Polish government doesn't go out of its way to enforce the ban on internet betting. Dozens of big-name gaming sites based out of other EU countries welcome Polish players with Polish-language websites and funding methods that work with the Polish Zloty.
The Legal Situation
Poland went through an extended period in which neither offline nor online gambling were regulated to any great extent. There were few restrictions on who could own casinos, where they could be built and what types of games could be offered. That all changed in 2010 when Poland passed an extremely restrictive piece of legislation, and then followed it up with another set of restrictions in 2011.
The legislation passed in 2010 dealt mostly with the brick-and-mortar business. It placed limits on where casinos could be built, how many games they could offer, and more. The Polish government then set its sights on online gambling and passed amendments that specifically targeted the internet.
The amendments made all forms of online gambling except for sports betting illegal. Internet sports betting got an exception, but even that wasn't very good. Companies seeking to be licensed must be owned and operated by Polish citizens and are subject to onerous taxation. A few state-licensed betting sites do exist in Poland, but the market lacks competition and players can find better value elsewhere.
There are some bright points for players. Most importantly, it's not illegal to place bets online from Poland. Polish citizens have free reign to pick and choose where they want to play. Major sites such as Bet365 cater to the Polish market with Polish-friendly deposit methods and deposit/withdrawal methods that are fast and reliable.
The other positive development is that in 2014, Poland decided to open up to popular payment methods such as Skrill and Neteller in order to better serve the few licensed sportsbooks in that country. Previously these companies were required to block signups from Poland. The addition of these payment methods will make it easier for gamblers to move money to and from their favorite sites.
Even though online gambling and poker may technically be illegal in Poland, you wouldn't know it just by browsing the internet. Customers in the country have their choice of gaming sites and gaming options. Hopefully the Polish government will soon get its act together and fall in line with the rest of the EU and give the people what they want.
Author: Wesley Burns
Updated: March 2015
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