Amendments to the Gambling Act of 19 November 2009 (the “Gambling Act”) entered into force in two parts in April and July 2017. The changes include new obligations on internet service providers and service payment operators concerning online betting operations.

What has changed?

As of 1 April 2017 the Polish Ministry of Finance is obliged to run a special registry of banned internet domains, i.e. internet domain names used to organise gambling activities in Poland without the permission required under Polish law. The registry is available at the following link: https://hazard.mf.gov.pl/.

As of 1 July 2017 internet service providers are obliged to block access to websites that use internet domain names entered into the registry of banned domains. Internet services providers are obliged to block the websites of non-licenced operators by removing internet domain names from IT systems within 48 hours of a domain name being listed in the registry. The amendment also prohibits payment service providers from providing payment services on websites that use domain names entered in the registry. Payment service providers that offer payment services on such websites are obliged to cease providing such services within 30 days of the date on which a domain is entered into the register. The amendment to the Gambling Act provides for fines of up to PLN 250,000 (approx. EUR 59,000) for failure to comply with the new obligations imposed on internet services providers and payment service providers.

Why?

The new regulations aim to broaden control over gambling activities in Poland and reduce the grey market concerning gambling as well as to increase tax incomes for the national budget.

Reactions to new regulations

The blacklist of banned domains has already been criticised. The Polish Ombudsman considers the mechanism of entering websites into the registry and blocking them to be illegal. In his opinion such mechanism may breach the constitutional rights to freedom of speech and access to information.