UN Group Calls On Poland To Amend Gambling Rules, Create New Regulator

June 7, 2022
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The Polish branch of a United Nations corporate responsibility initiative has celebrated the country’s apparently shrinking black market, but is still pushing for a regulatory overhaul.

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The Polish branch of a United Nations corporate responsibility initiative has celebrated the country’s apparently shrinking black market, but is still pushing for a regulatory overhaul.

The UN Global Compact (UNGC) released a report in May that suggests Poland’s tax authorities have managed to reduce the share of illegal online gambling from 79.7 to 17.9 percent over a five-year period.

However, additional regulatory changes, including the introduction of a gross gaming revenue (GGR) tax, a new gambling regulator, measures related to the minimum winnings and relaxed rules for poker games, could further contribute to this goal, according to the UNGC.

Mariusz Gojny, Poland’s deputy finance minister and deputy chair of the National Tax Administration, said in his written contribution to the report that the years 2016 to 2021 brought a major drop in the value of the country’s illegal online gambling segment.

“The activities of the National Tax Administration in the field of combating illegal gambling, combined with regulatory activities directed at the gambling market, are bringing results,” he said.

“When comparing 2021 with 2016, the share of 'black' online gambling fell more than fourfold, from 79.7 percent to 17.9 percent.

“It is also noteworthy that, since 2018, the share of the black online gambling market in Poland has remained below the average level for the European Union countries … as in 2021 it was 17.9% [for Poland] and 25.2% [for the EU],” according to Gojny.

The deputy finance minister said the decrease in the illegal online gambling sector’s share of the Polish market was accompanied by a rise in the state budget’s revenues generated from gambling tax.

In 2021, Poland obtained about PLN3.05bn (€664m) from the levy, which represented an increase of 60.3 percent compared with 2018, according to Gojny.

In the report, the UNGC praised the latest efforts by the finance ministry, but also called on decision-makers to review and update the provisions of the gambling law, which entered into force in 2017. This would provide the state with additional instruments to combat illegal gambling, according to the organisation.

In its recommendations, the UNGC says the government could further strengthen its oversight of the industry by creating the Gambling Supervision Authority, a new body “tasked with the issues of gambling rules, good practices, but also indicating the practices that should be the subject of the activities of the National Tax Administration”.

The organisation also suggests the Polish authorities should replace the country’s revenue-based gambling tax, whose rate on betting is set at the level of 12 percent, with a GGR tax.

“A tax on gross revenues ensures operators with a higher elasticity in their activities and greater possibilities of a more efficient management of their businesses,” according to the report.

Another regulatory proposal consists of allowing gambling operators to guarantee minimum winnings below the paid bets.

Under current Polish law, paid bets and minimum winnings must be at least equal, but “this solution does not always protect players to the extent that is desired by the legislator”.

The UNGC suggests that minimum winnings could be determined as a percentage of paid bets.

In addition to this, the report calls on the government to allow Poland-based casinos to organise cash poker tournaments.

“This would contribute to decreasing the interest [shown by Polish players] in pursuing gambling tourism to other countries,” the UNGC said, adding that the “potential legalisation of cash games must have inherent mechanisms that will prevent money laundering”.

Set up in 2000 and based in Poland’s capital Warsaw, the UNGC is a UN-backed international initiative that aims to promote sustainable policies among companies across the world.

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