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Sportsbooks opt out of Poland over taxing issues

Apr 4, 2017 3:00 AM

New online gaming laws in Poland, about to come into force, have incited a market exit by numerous operators. Recently, gambling companies like Betfair, William Hill, Bet356, Pinnacle Sports and Mr Green have all abandoned their Polish customers.

The purpose of the new regulations is to reduce the unregulated market but it was designed poorly, say operators who the left market. The so-called “liberalized” new gambling laws and the 12 percent tax on operator revenue are unworkable, they say.

Previously, online gambling companies were taxed on their gross gambling revenue (GGR), or “net wins” (the difference between the total amount of wagering received after wins have been paid out to customers). Calls from the country’s parliament to impose a more reasonable 20 percent on GGR were ignored. Those operators still trying to do business in Poland without seeking a license will be blacklisted and subject to ISP blocking, according to the amendments to the gambling act.

EnergyBet, a UK company that also left the market this week, said in a statement that while it had hoped Polish government would listen to the advice of the European Union and other authorities, “the new highly restrictive and hostile regulatory environment made continued operations unviable.”

The statement added, “The decision to cease offering EnergyBet services to customers is Poland was not taken lightly, and any resulting inconvenience and disappointment is very much regretted."