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Bet365, William Hill Leave Polish Online Gambling Market
- March 30, 2017 By Riley Wilson -
If we should compare Poland’s gambling market to a ship, then the new regulations that will come into force on April 1 are an iceberg that is about to sink the unfortunate vessel. Lifeboats are already in water, and among the latest to leave are Bet365 and William Hill.
The whole ordeal started last December, when Poland approved the amendment on Gambling Act. New regulations imposed measures aimed at online operators lacking the Polish gaming license, blocking their internet domains and payments.
Although adopted in December, the amended Act would come into effect on March 31, when the mandatory standstill period expires.
The Operators Exodus
The reactions it caused were pretty much the same, since the vast majority of online operators opted to completely leave the Polish market instead of applying for a new license. Pinnacle was among the first to announce the departure, with EnergyBet following their move. Malta-licensed operator said the main reasons to exit local market were highly restrictive regulations imposed by the new Act.
The latest in line to leave are UK’s Bet365 and William Hill, who have already scheduled to quit all Polish operations on April 1. Their Poland-based players were informed to withdraw their funds by the end of the month, while affiliate marketing partners began removing all banners advertising services in Poland.
A Hostile Environment
Still, Hill’s emails to affiliates suggest there is a possibility of returning to Poland, but with 12% tax on sports betting, but many think that is not likely to happen. Even some government officials doubt the Polish market can survive with such strict regulations, although the government said the tax could be lowered in the near future.
In the meantime, the blocking measures against unlicensed operators will commence on July 1.
The new Act set the legal basis for the introduction of a domestic online gambling platform, which includes online casino, poker and bingo, via state-owned Totalizator Sportowy platform. There are those who think the Gambling Act was amended to enable state monopoly in online gambling.