While the poker players in the United States of America are struggling to find online poker sites that still welcome American players, the poker players in Poland have to give up hope completely. This is because the Polish authorities have banned online poker on the grounds that it was of a highly addictive nature and too difficult to regulate effectively.
The ban on online poker in Poland came into effect soon after the Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski authorized a legal declaration that prohibited groups and players from organizing and participating in online poker games within the country. According to news reports, the country had made this move to ban online poker in an attempt to regulate the online gaming sector and the sports betting industry in the region. As of now, Polish gamers will find the avenues of horse race betting and sports betting still open to them; poker players on the other hand will not have any means of playing online poker.
A Polish news report discussed the opinion of Poland’s Ministry of Finance, stating: “Jacek Kapica, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, believes that poker is a gambling game, based on a random element (a hand of cards), as it was confirmed by the Administrative Court verdict. Worse, it’s a game, leading to addiction, because of direct participation in it which is followed by its immediate results,”
Poland came to this decision because it was concerned that although poker was considered to be an acceptable form of gambling by society, its results were not based on an actual event and not generated by a system provider, leaving a lot of room for manipulation and money laundering. Another concern was tax evasion, as poker players could easily transfer funds by “losing chips” to another poker player. The ban is expected to move into effect by July 2011 and appears to enjoy the support of several prominent authoritative figures of the country.
Simultaneously, Sigrid Ligné, the Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association has appealed that the decision be revoked. “We support the Polish government’s intention to join the growing number of countries regulating the online gaming and betting market in the EU. However, the current draft foresees a wide range of obstacles and obligations which will make it highly difficult for EU licensed and regulated operators to apply for a license in Poland. We urge Poland to revise its draft and align it with the requirements of the EU Treaty.”