Poland: Grey Zone Operations Threaten Licensed Gambling Market

Poland’s sports betting market has been affected by illegal operations, the 2020 market report released by the country’s sports betting trade association GRAJ Legalnie outlined.

One Third Siphoned by Offshore Operators

The report tracking activities of the legal sports betting businesses identified “grey zone” operators managed to cut off a slice of the licensed market of more than 35% of the ZL7.2 billion (€1.6 billion) generated by the 19 licensed retail and online sportsbooks.

GRAJ noted 2020 saw the legal market account for ZL800 million (€170 million) in tax duties to Poland’s Treasury despite the material impact of the coronavirus outbreak which halted international sport.

“After a promising beginning, the second quarter brought the lockdown of global sport. The most flexible companies with a diversified portfolio and well-developed produce and technology were able to make up for the losses incurred during those months.”

Katarzyna Mikołajczyk, President, GRAJ

Growth for STS, Decline for Fortuna

Poland’s market leader, STS, managed an increment increase of its market share to 46%, compared to the 45% the operator held in 2019, posting revenues to the amount of ZL3.3 billion (€733 million), and Katarzyna Mikołajczyk praised the Mateusz Juroszek-owned gambling group for overcoming a difficult year despite the decline in revenues it suffered in the second quarter.

“The pandemic has also affected its local betting shops, most of which have been closed during the lockdown. After reopening, traffic at many of these locations did not return to pre-pandemic levels, and some customers moved to the online channel.”

Katarzyna Mikołajczyk, President, GRAJ

The growth achieved by the market leader STS looks even better on the background of the result posted by its biggest competitor,  Fortuna Entertainment, which reported 3% decline in market share, to 28%, having seen its revenues dip 10% to ZL2 billion (€444 million) from the ZL2.2 billion ((€488 million)  the company registered in 2019.

As STS and Fortuna held an aggregate market share of 74%, the remaining 17 operators had to scramble for growth within the single-digit area, GRAJ report outlined. Among them, INTRALOT’s Totolotek was forced to close its entire retail estate due to closures imposed on retail gambling establishments.

The industry’s trade body also highlighted difficulties relating to the calculation of the true market value of the gambling industry in the country due to the presence of a number of illegal online operators which constantly target Polish residents and accounted for more than a third of the licensed market.

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