Polish residents will now have to discontinue their foreign sports and casino accounts as the government begins targeting participants in illegal gambling websites.
Poland’s Ministry of Finance Hounds Players
Poland is stepping up its efforts in reigning in unauthorized gambling by targeting individuals running such operations and those who participate in foreign gambling operations as players. According to a new statement published on the Polish Ministry of Finance, individuals who knowingly or unwittingly participate in illegal gambling websites located outside of the country are liable to penalties up to PLN zł4.5 million ($1 million) under the country’s Criminal Code.
The new measures are some of the most restrictive in the world. They explicitly prohibit players from participating and shift the onus from operators who continuously target Polish citizens to the consumers themselves. Poland seeks to prohibit participation in both online casinos as well as sports betting.
Dodging a Hefty Penalty Is Not Easy
To avoid becoming culprits under the new law, the Ministry has listed a number of whitelisted websites that can be used legally within the country. The current list features 22 sports betting operators, which gives a good number of options for those interested in sports. However, consumers will have to frequently check in with the official government website at taxki.gov.pl in order to see which entities are currently legal in the country.
While sports bettors do have a variety of choices, online casino players are limited to only the Totalizator Sportowy, the state-owned sports betting giant. Poland is not in a hurry to let go of its monopoly over the activity, as iGaming brings significant revenue to the state budget and far exceeds the net proceedings generated through sports betting.
Essentially, Poland considers playing at a foreign gambling website a tax offense, which is why the maximum penalty set by the country’s authorities is so high. The country is taking a similarly uncompromising stance against parties that organize and run gambling operations, with those individuals facing even greater penalties that can go up to $4 million and up to three years in prison.
The Polish government is sending a very clear signal that anyone who wishes to operate legally in the country will have to comply with the new rules. That extends to affiliates as well as gambling operators.