Polish MP Calls On New Government To Loosen Cash Poker Regulations

January 11, 2024
Back
Despite only being in power for less than a month, Poland’s new government is now facing calls from an opposition lawmaker to legalise cash poker games outside casinos and overhaul the taxation of these games.
Body

Despite only being in power for less than a month, Poland’s new government is now facing calls from an opposition lawmaker to legalise cash poker games outside casinos and overhaul the taxation of these games.

Polish opposition MP Sławomir Mentzen argues this could generate much needed additional revenue for the state budget.

“Poker players play the poker championship of Poland away in [Slovakia’s capital] Bratislava, and Polish poker players pay their taxes everywhere but in Poland. Why wouldn’t we change it? Let’s pass a normal gambling law … and tax gambling in a normal way,” the lawmaker said during a debate held at the Sejm, the lower chamber of Poland’s parliament.

Amending the country’s taxation of cash poker games could generate tax revenue amounting to “billions of zloty that we could put into the budget”, according to the lawmaker. 

Under Polish law, online cash poker games are illegal for Poland-based players, and cash poker tournaments can only be hosted by casinos. Winnings obtained at such tournaments are taxed at a rate of 25 percent. Several representatives of Poland’s gambling industry have decried the rate as excessively high.

Mentzen is the leader of the opposition Confederation (Konfederacja) parliamentary club, and the chairman of the New Hope (Nowa Nadzieja) party, which is one of its member parties. Mentzen’s party declares it is in favour of lowering various taxes and deregulating numerous sectors of the Polish economy, including the gambling industry.

It is unclear whether Poland’s incumbent government, formed in December 2023 by a coalition of centre-right, liberal and left-wing parties led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk, will revise the gambling law passed by the country’s previous right-wing Cabinet.

During the previous term of the Sejm, in 2019 to 2023, Confederation MPs were active in the lower chamber’s Consumer and Entrepreneurs’ Protection Team. As part of its work, the parliamentary team issued an official gambling policy proposal document to the Ministry of Finance. In their proposal, the lawmakers requested that the ministry introduce a gross gaming revenue (GGR) tax on bookmaking. 

“Most of the countries in the world, including [countries in] Europe, have switched from a revenue tax to a GGR tax over the past years,” the MPs said. “In Europe, only six countries have a tax on bookmaking that is based on revenues, and its rate is the highest in Poland.”

To advance their case, the parliamentary team’s members also referred to a 2021 opinion poll according to which only 43 percent of Polish bettors claimed they did not use the services of unregistered bookmakers.

In January 2022, Poland’s then deputy finance minister, Jan Sarnowski, disclosed in an official document that his ministry was evaluating the possibility of replacing the 12 percent revenue tax on bookmaking with a GGR tax. However, those analyses did not produce any formal legislative proposals before the PiS party’s government was dismissed in December 2023.

Our premium content is available to users of our services.

To view articles, please Log-in to your account, or sign up today for full access:

Opt in to hear about webinars, events, industry and product news

To find out more about Vixio, contact us today
No items found.