Operators in Poland’s once promising market have been flooding for the exit in March, as the regulatory environment become too hostile to stay the course.
The shift came in December when country’s legislature approved the amended Polish Gaming Act including new domain and payment blocking measures for online operators without the sufficient gaming licence.
The updated Act effectively gives Polish players approved access for the first time to poker and online casino, and bingo products, but only through the stateowned Totalizator Sportowy monopoly.
The amendments, which also maintain the unworkable 12 percent sports betting tax are due to come into effect at the end of March.
The esports betting queen, Pinnacle, was the first to wave the flag, when in February it announced it would withdraw from the market as of 1 April.
Malta-based EnergyBet soon followed suit, in March declaring it would also leave due to a “highly restrictive and hostile regulatory environment.”
“The Polish market has always been very important to us, and we share the frustration of Polish customers,” said EnergyBet CEO Marcin Sapinski. “We will continue to monitor developments, with the aim of returning to the Polish market if things change. In the meantime, we would like to thank our Polish customers for their understanding.”
By the end of March bookmaker beasts Bet365 and William Hill have both joined the exodus, informing their Polish customers that they too would no longer be providing services as of 1 April. Both companies have instructed their affiliated marketing firm to cease advertising operations.
William Hill also suggested it may return. The sports betting tax hike is considered by both the RGA and even some Polish ministers to be retrograde, effectively making the large market unviable. The government has suggested revisiting the tax rate through separate legislation in the future. For now however, Poland remains a bad bet for business.