Online betting in Poland is legal as long as it is run by entities that meet the statutory criteria. Pursuant to Article 5(1b) of the amended Polish Gambling Act of 19 November 2009 (Journal of Laws of 2018, item 165), the organisation of gambling games over the Internet, with the exception of pari-mutuel betting and promotional lotteries, is covered by the State monopoly.
This means that online bookmakers can still legally operate with a whole range of payment methods and are not subject to a state monopoly.
On the territory of Poland, only bookmakers who have obtained a licence issued by the Polish Ministry of Finance and thus have complied with the laws in force in Poland may accept bookmaker bets.
Legal bookmakers in Poland must meet a number of requirements in order to conduct sports betting. As stated in the Polish Gambling Act, bookmakers may offer their services in Poland only if the Polish Minister of Finance grants them a licence to conduct such activities.
According to the provisions of the Act, legal bookmakers, i.e. legal bookmakers in Poland, must:
Bookmaker bets are only allowed for people of legal age. As the Polish Gambling Act specifies, a person under the age of 18 is not even allowed to enter an online betting website. Bookmakers are required to inform in a conspicuous place about the ban on gambling for minors.
Internet betting operators must put in place procedures to verify a player’s age, including a procedure for registering a personal player account. Registering an account is a condition for being able to place bets, therefore one cannot place a single bet online if one does not create an individual account at a given bookmaker service. The key element of registering a player’s account is sending a photocopy of an identity card or passport, on the basis of which bookmakers can confirm the player’s age.
In order to protect players, betting shops must submit their own draft regulations for responsible gaming, which are then checked and, if everything is in order, approved by the Polish Minister of Finance. The amendment to the Gambling Act also introduced the requirement to make the terms and conditions available on the bookmaker’s website on the day the bookmaker starts accepting bets at the latest. These terms and conditions must contain information on the bookmaker itself and the game rules applicable on the site, but also on how the bookmaker will fulfil statutory requirements, e.g. how the account registration process will proceed, how the player’s age will be verified and what game control mechanisms will be used.
It is compulsory for the online betting site to prominently display the following information: which company organises the betting and how to contact them, the details of the betting licence, the fact that minors are not allowed to place bets. When presenting various information of a commercial nature on their online service, bookmakers must also ensure that minors are as well protected as possible, about the risks of becoming addicted to the game and provide the names of institutions where they can seek help if they notice symptoms of addiction.
The rules themselves must also be posted on the site and players must be able to read them before they start betting.
The Polish Gambling Act also regulates taxes related to the provision of pari-mutuel betting (and other gambling games). The taxpayer is the entity that organizes betting and pays the tax not on profit but on turnover. The tax base is the sum of the rates paid and the tax itself is 12% of turnover.