Poland is slowly inching closer to a future where bookmakers are operating in a highly competitive industry. The country’s Ministry of Finance has managed to open the sluicegates of healthy and vibrant competition. According to the latest figures, the number of bookmakers in the country has doubled in terms of applied-for licenses.
Typiko and Traf Zakłady Wzajemne Open Up
Two new players are now entering the market with Typiko and Traf Zakłady Wzajemne having become the latest bookmakers to obtain licenses. The latter is also a subsidiary of the state-owned Totalizator Sportowy, and the newly-acquired permits will last six years, as per the current legal specifics.
While the news has been well-received, signalling that Poland is preparing to let more regulated and law-abiding operators on its market, no official dates have been given about when the two companies will launch their websites.
Typiko is a Bielsko-Biała-headquartered bookmaker, founded back in 2016 and currently led by Bet Sport Poland executive Aleksandra Kuliniak. Typiko joins a number of operators that have so far been given the green-light to push ahead with their betting offers. Those companies include Cherry, BetClic (which announced its return in October), Everest, Totalbet, BetFan and Ewinner. But the list is hardly complete without Fortuna and LVBet in the market.
Conversely, a number of respected operators have been blacklisted as they have taken no measures to obtain the proper licenses that would allow them to comply with active Polish laws. Some of the brands to have been ousted include Unibet and Bet365 back in 2016 when the last sweeping set of gambling regulations arrived.
A Heavy Tax Keeps Investors Away
The top brands have chosen a way out of the Polish market not because they didn’t want to comply with local laws, but rather with what they consider to be a rather difficult tax on turnover fixed at 12% presently. The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has said that keeping the tax rate at this level would fail to incentivize bookmakers to join, defeating the purpose of regulating the segment, which is ultimately for the country to acquire additional public funding.
Despite the premonitions, though, the Polish market has been expanding at a great clip, noting down a steady 22% year-on-year growth estimated at $3 billion. Since it has begun actively seeking to endorse online operators, the government has noted that the number of regulated bookmakers has grown significantly since the end of 2017, citing 40% as the exact figure of the increase.
The market is still relatively young and while opportunities for growth exist, operators need to tread carefully and ensure they can meet the tax-thresholds the government has imposed. An over-saturation of the market may create a competition that will lead to bookmakers’ net financial loss. Many also still await the arrival of a fully-independent regulator.
But even then, the most prominent brands in the industry fear that even if they were to acquire a license and enter, they wouldn’t be able to make the numbers work out for them, weighed down by both competition and a relatively small player base. Meanwhile, smaller-scale operations continue to expand at a good clip.