Online gambling operators were used to running operations in Poland for a number of years with very little scrutiny. However during the last couple of years, the Polish government has made it clear that it was looking at bringing in new regulation that would clean up the online gambling industry in the country and impose a new tax regimen. The government kept that promise as on April 1, 2017, a new gaming law known as the Polish Gaming Act (PGA) was implemented.
Polish Gaming Act
The government believes that the PGA will help improve all forms of online gambling in the country and expand its player database. The government has made it illegal for any online gambling provider to operate without a license but has also restricted their operations to only online sports betting. Totlizator Sportowy, which is run by the state has been given exclusive rights to run online poker, bingo and online casino games in the country.
Online gambling operators from other countries will only be allowed to run online sports betting operations provided they have a license. Some of the top bookmakers like William Hill, Bet365 and Betfair had anticipated such a move and had exited the Polish market before the new gaming law came into effect. There have also been reports that as of April 24, the popular iPoker Network had also left the Polish market suddenly and had not given any intimation to its players. Players who tried to log into the iPoker Network suddenly realized they could no longer access the network and only then realized that the provider had withdrawn from Poland.
Tough Tax Laws
One of the reasons for the mass exodus of these online gambling operators is due to the new PGA. However another issue that has discouraged online gambling providers from thinking about continuing in the polish market is the new tax laws that the government has imposed.
Poland has levied a 12 percent gaming tax on these online gambling providers. While 12 percent does not look too high a tax percentage at first glance, one needs to delve deeper into the gaming law to understand why online gambling providers do not find it very attractive. This is because most governments have online gambling providers pay taxes on their gross turnover but the Polish tax law demands that online gambling providers pay their 12 percent on their sports betting turnover.
This would significantly eat into the profits of the online gambling provider and considering the fact that their services are only restricted to online sports betting, their profit margins could be relatively small and not worth the trouble of operating in Poland.
 Blacklist Keeps Growing
While some of the major gambling providers have decided to exit the Polish market, there are a number of smaller online gambling providers who have chosen to continue to offer their services, even though they know it is now illegal due to the GA. The government has been keeping a close watch on the underground market and is constantly adding new online gambling domains to its blacklist.
Some of the newly added providers include which is licensed by the Kahnawake tribe, Vulkanbet, which is licensed in Curacao, Bet-at-home and Marathonbet. The government has asked all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country to ensure that the ISPs of these providers are blocked within a 48 hour period, once a new provider is added to the blacklist. Should the online gambling provider apply for a license and receive one, their name with be struck off the blacklist and the ISPs will unblock their ISP within a 48 hour period.
The authorities are taking the blacklisting process seriously and have warned all ISPs that failure to comply with the new laws would mean paying a penalty of around $64,000 for each non-compliance.
Online Poker Players Miffed
Most online poker players in Poland are miffed with the new regulations as it has significantly limited their choice when it comes to choosing an online poker provider. Now that most of the big providers are gone, polish players have only two choices. One is to play at Totlizator Sportowy legally but have limited competition and options. The second is to play at illegal online poker websites and put themselves at risk.

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