Poland Online Poker Legislation Drafted by Country’s Ministry of Finance

May 31st, 2016 | by Kaycee James
Poland online poker Jaroslaw Gowin

Poland online poker is in the works after Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin announced the Ministry of Finance has authored amendments to the country’s gambling law. (Image: go-Poland.pl)

Poland online poker could soon become free of exclusion after the Polish Ministry of Finance (MF) revealed numerous amendments to the country’s current Gambling Act, one of which would liberalize interactive poker in the European Union’s sixth-most populated country.

In late May, the Ministry of Finance announced it’s looking to amend how gambling is regulated in Poland and tackle gray market operators on the Internet. The head governmental administration office that oversees the country’s budget, public finance, and financial institutions, recently published a clause that would allow licensed gaming companies to take poker to online websites.

Though the amendments came as a surprise to some, the MF is trying to restrict illegal operators catering to the country’s nearly 40 million citizens.

Should the changes become law, “Illegal gambling operators will be subject to more severe consequences, which will hamper their operations and thus increase the market share of legal entities offering gambling,” the MF said.

Polishing Off Offshore Sites

It seems the overall mission to legalize Internet poker is to address the current rogue nature of gaming online. Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin opined in mid-May that the country loses hundreds of millions of zlote (one Zloty=0.25 USD) each year to criminal enterprises.

Jaroslaw supports regulating online poker to thwart international companies reaping the rewards of the uncontrolled environment.

“We want Poland in a sphere of normality and common sense,” Gowin declared. “We want to move away from solutions that make 95 percent of betting a gray area.”

Poland’s Gambling Act allows for Internet sports betting but bars operators from offering poker and casino games. But regardless of the law, numerous poker sites, including many of the power players, continue operating unscathed by government enforcement.

Regulate vs. Restrict

When it comes to the legal dialogue on Internet poker, the conversation often boils down to determining whether regulating the market safeguards consumers and strains rogue networks or if it does just the opposite.

Proponents of iGambling argue it’s the former, and it seems Poland, or at least its Ministry of Finance, agrees.

“As innovative, disruptive new platforms become established in the marketplace, regulations should aim to integrate them into our industry without instead pushing the customer down the path of least resistance to the unregulated, illegal market,” American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman said in March.

Freeman and supporters of regulation believe oversight leads to more safeguards for consumers.

Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson and congressional backers of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) feel just the opposite. They believe the best way to disrupt online gambling is to keep it illegal.

As PokerSites.com reported on May 27, during a recent House Committee on Appropriations hearing, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pennsylvania) explained his position on Internet gambling.

“If we have learned anything about the Internet, it is that when it comes to technology our kids always find a way to outsmart their parents,” Dent opined. “Internet gambling is in part intended to draw the younger generation into gambling.”

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