Simon’s Guide to Poland Gambling & Online Betting Sites – Simon s Online Casino Gambling Blog|Simon’s Guide to Poland Gambling & Online Betting Sites

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Simon’s Guide to Poland Gambling & Online Betting Sites

Poland, just like Hungary, is a Central European country geographically, but both are culturally and economically Eastern European, and they were both forced to be a part of the Soviet Union till 1991.

/Comment: Additionally, Poland and Hungary are very close allies, probably have the closest alliance of any two country within the EU, both part of the Visegrád 4 group, which is like a mini-EU of Central European countries: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia (fun fact: most of these countries were formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which is where World War I. started)./

Online gambling is also legal in Poland since 2011.

You can find a list of online gambling websites, which accept players from Poland by scrolling below, or click here to jump to that list:

History of Gambling in Poland- click to expand

Just like in the case of other countries, which used to be “behind the iron curtain” (part of the Soviet Union) Poland’s history with gambling must be divided into pre-communist and past-communist periods.

Before the USSR:

Poland, as we know today, only exist since 1918 (after their first independence from Russia).

1918 – 1930 – The first clear written record of gambling is from 1918, when the country’s first casino opened in Sopot.

1927 – The Sopot casino was redesigned and greatly expanded to become a resort, spa, hotel (Hotel Kuracyjny) and casino (still in operation: Hotel Grand Sopot, it was inspired by Austrian and German “Kurhaus” casinos in operation at that time, which were really popular among the upper crust of the European society).

Back then casinos were strictly for the upper classes and for people aged 21+, and only men were allowed to enter (although women if accompanied by a man were allowed to enter, this was very common back then, smoking was also allowed inside the building).

1945 – 1991 – Poland was part of the USSR and gambling was mostly illegal (except there were lotteries in certain countries, including Poland, in 1955 by the Resolution No 1010/55 of the Government the Polish lottery was founded).

1989 – Towards the end of the Russian regime, when cracks began to appear in the system, some casino reopened with special permission as part of an attempt to revitalize the failing economy of the Soviet Union.

Additionally the Polish Baltic Shipping Company had some ships and ferries with gaming machines.

It was unsuccessful and failed to save the abysmal communist economy, which was corrupt, extremely inefficient and was drowning in debt (money loaned by American and European Jewish banker families mostly, e.g.: the Rothschilds among others).

After the fall of the USSR:

1991 – After their second independence from Russia gambling was quickly relegalized, according to the Act on Games and Betting.

2009 – The gambling legislation was overhauled and extended by the Act on Gambling Games.

2011 – The first forms of online gambling were legalized.

+ EXTRA: The earliest written record of any form of gambling in the territory of Poland is from 1777, when a framework for the organization of lottery games was established. The very first lottery on Polish territory started its operation in 1786, September 1, organized by the State Treasury of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (even back then the lottery was state-owned). However, this predates the formation of Poland by hundreds of years.

Gambling is legal in Poland since 1920, according to Act on Gambling Games (Ustawa o grach hazardowych) 1 , which is the main piece of the gambling legislation.

Gambling is legal since 1920, and it was relegalized in 1991 after the country’s independence from the USSR (in the USSR most forms of gambling were illegal). And the gambling legislation was overhauled and extended in 2009.

The current gambling legislation is one of the most restrictive in Europe, and the reason for this are past gambling related scandals, lobbying, organized crime involvement regarding the then legal slot halls (the scandal was dubbed as “afera hazardowa” by the Polish media).

The new Gambling Act imposed severe restrictions on the gambling establishments already in operation in Poland. It limited the scope, scale and location of their operations, it resulted in many closures and made slot halls entirely illegal, and still to this day, there are barely any casinos in Poland as a result.

There only around 15 casinos, which is not much for a country of 38 million (to put it into context: the neighboring Czech Republic has 50+ casinos for only 10 million people, and there were 50 casino-like establishments in Poland prior to the 2009 Gambling Act).

Slot halls are also legal since 2018. Apart from the 15 casinos there are also 50+ of slot halls (they only have gaming machines, no live dealer tables, no dice games and no card games). All of these are operated by the state-owned company Totalizator Sportowy. Private companies can not operate slot parlours.

Online gambling is also legal since 2011.

A 2011 amendment to the Act legalized the operation of online betting sites and promotional lotteries, raffles over the internet but with severe limitations. It only allowed Polish companies (owned by Polish individuals living in Poland) to operate online bookmakers, and they could only accept bettors from Poland.

Other amendments to the Act enabled the national lottery company to offer its lottery products online.

However, online poker and online casinos are still illegal within the country.

UPDATE 2021: Online gambling is still very restricted, and online poker and online casino gambling have still not been legalized yet.

Since 2011, Poland’s authorities have only approved 8 online betting licensees, among others: Fortuna Entertainment, Millenium, STS and Totolotek 2 . These domestic sports betting companies still have a hard time competing with the superior and bigger foreign international online bookmakers and unlicensed offshore operators (who don’t pay any taxes in Poland) have a 51% market share according to Polish Supreme Audit Office.

Visiting these unlicensed gambling sites is illegal. Only licensed gambling sites, with a Polish licence can accept players from Poland.

Poland and the EU gambling laws: Because Poland is an EU country Article 56 TFEU 3 and Article 8 of Directive 98/34/EC (EU gambling directives) apply.

According to these the current Polish gambling legislation is not compliant with EU laws.

EU authorities expressed concerns about the current legislation that does not guarantee the free flow of products and services between member states in the European Economic Area.

To address some of these concerns, another amendment to the Act on Gambling Games was signed into law in 2016. The amendment allows gambling companies from other EU member states to set up gaming operations in Poland, provided they have a physical branch and a Polish speaking representative in the country. Although, this only applies to online betting companies, EU online casino companies still can not not get a licence.

According to these EU laws Poland could not restrict or fine players for playing in unlicensed online casinos, which are licensed in other EU countries, and the country should not restrict access to these websites, because that would restrict the free flow of services and competition within the EEA. It happens regardless and there is a lot of litigation because of this behind the scenes.

Polish authorities did not block unlicensed websites prior to 2017, since then, many of the unlicensed online gambling websites are blocked, even though this contravenes EU laws. And additionally, financial institutions have started blocking transactions to and from unlicensed gambling websites as well (although reportedly this does not really work, offshore operators easily bypass these measures by using payment processors and proxy offshore bank accounts).

In November 2014, the Polish Ministry of Finance published an official announcement on its website warning Polish players that if they place bets on foreign unlicensed online platforms they can face legal action: a fine, and criminal indictment 4 . This is also not compliant with EU laws, and this is illegal according to various EU laws..

The ministry also stated that they have information about more than 24,000 players who have been participating in overseas gambling, including 17,700 players who have won a total of PLN 27 million ($6,97 million, this violates EU privacy rights).

The Ministry has already initiated more than 1,100 criminal investigations in 2014, against the players who have received the highest winnings.

However, it turns out, this was barely more than scare tactics, most of these players only received small fines and winners had to pay taxes on their winnings (because none of them paid any taxes on their gambling winnings, even though it is taxable income, see below, at the gambling taxation section).

Since 2014 there weren’t any further mass prosecutions in Poland. The prosecutions most likely stopped. However, there is no official info on this, it’s best to just stick to licensed operators and avoid offshore websites.

Authorities expressly mentioned that they are only after those with really high winnings. Small scale recreational players do not really have anything to worry about. Nevertheless, because of the litigiousness of the Polish government we do not recommend playing in unlicensed offshore online casinos from Poland.

You can find a list of online gambling websites, which accept players from Poland below.

Betting on blood sports in Poland

All forms of blood sports are considered animal cruelty, and are illegal in Poland. Betting on blood sports is also illegal.

Poland has much more to offer than just its casino hotels. Here is a little taste of what to expect when you visit:

/Comment: I strongly recommend Poland for tourists. Great value for money, you can get the “European experience” here as well, for less than third of the price of a Western European vacation.

And unlike the over-globalized Western half of Europe, Central European countries still have their local character, customs, people, not just Mc Donald’s and migrants (e.g like all German big cities)./

Can tourists play online while visiting Poland?

Yes, tourists, expats (or illegal migrants) can play online freely while enjoying their stay in the country.

Gambling licensing in Poland

Gambling, betting and promotional lottery licenses are issued by the National Revenue Administration. You have to contact them if you wish to set up any sort of gambling business in Poland. Their website is available in English as well.

  • a., Polish companies owned by Polish people residing in Poland.
  • b., Since 2016 foreign companies are also eligible through a Polish subsidiary with a Polish representative living in Poland.

Online betting and promotional lotteries (includes: promotional lottery, raffle, bingo) are the only forms of online gambling currently allowed to be organised by private entities. Other forms of online gambling are restricted to the state-owned company (Totalizator Sportowy Sp. z o.o.).

In terms of land-based gambling, the following licenses are available:

  • Casino licence is required for casino games (which includes poker and other card games).
  • Bingo game saloon permit is required for cash bingo (usually casinos have both a casino and bingo licence).
  • Betting operator permit is required for operating sports books, betting shops.

There can only be one casino and bingo saloon in a single location (village or city) up to 250,000 inhabitants. For each consequent 250,000 inhabitants, the maximum number of permitted establishments is increased by one (for example, two casinos are available for up to 500,000 inhabitants, three casinos are available for up to 750,000 inhabitants and so on), but there cannot be more than one casino per 650,000 inhabitants in a single province (województwo).

Casinos can also be operated aboard sea passenger ships and passenger ferries. However, these casinos must be closed while in port.

Slot machine parlours can only be operated by the state-owned company Totalizator Sportowy Sp. z o.o.. There is also a limit on the number of slot machines which can operate in them, with no more than one machine per 1,000 inhabitants allowed in a single county.

Licensing requirement and fees can be found in the Providing Services through Electronic Means, a.k.a E-Commerce Act (Ustawa o świadczeniu usług drogą elektroniczną).

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Poland gambling tax

The gambling tax rates in the Poland are the following:

Poland gambling tax rates
Activity:Tax rate:Tax base:
Raffles, bingo and lottery10%the nominal value of tickets used for the game or the total revenue from sale of lottery tickets (if it is organized by charities it is only taxed is the revenue exceeds PLN 5140, around € 1100)
Cash lotteries15%total revenue from sale of lottery tickets or other proofs of participation
Number games20%all the money paid in
Cash bingo, telebingo, premium rate lottery and poker tournaments25%the total revenue from the sale of tickets, proofs of participation (for a premium rate lottery, this is the income from holding the lottery; for cash bingo, the tax base is the value of tickets; for a poker tournament, this is the sum of the winnings decreased by entry fee)
Slot machines50%of the money people spend on the machine decreased by the winnings paid to winners
Casino games (not including poker)50%gross gaming revenue: bets made, decreased by winnings paid to winners
Sports betting2.5%bets made
Other forms of betting:12%bets made

Gambling is VAT exempt.

This is on top of regular taxes (e.g: corporate tax).

Online gambling tax Poland: no special online gambling tax, the above tax rates apply to the online versions of the games as well.

For players, taxation of gambling winnings in Poland:

  • taxable, subject to income tax, if winnings are from unlicensed foreign online gambling websites, or any type of money won abroad (e.g.: you purchased a lottery ticket abroad while vacationing, and you won)
  • winnings obtained in Poland from slot machines, casinos, card games, bingo, raffle are exempt of personal income tax
  • winnings from number games, lotteries, betting and telebingo are subject to a fixed tax rate of 10% if their value exceeds 2280 Polish zloty (around € 500, paid by the organizer)

Free advertisement for local accountants, CPAs and accounting firms from this country

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How to get featured

  • send me a link to your website, or your employer’s website
  • send me 1-2 sentences about you and/or your business etc. something that describes the business, what you do, something that makes potential clients interested
  • send me one single picture of your company’s logo, or a picture of your office, or one of your certificates, credentials which you are proud of etc. (but don’t send a picture of yourself, for legal reasons I want to avoid uploading pictures of people)

Legal gambling age in Poland: 18+

Loot boxes are not considered a form of gambling in Poland, according to the Ministry of Finance 5 .

Social gambling in Poland is not regulated.

Fantasy and virtual sports betting is not specifically regulated in Poland.

Sources, and main pieces of the Polish gambling legislation:

List of online gambling sites, which accept players from Poland

The following online gambling websites accept players from Poland. They all accept players from the country, and are accessible from within the country, at the time of writing. If they no longer accept players from Poland, or if they are blocked for some reason, please leave a message in the comments section, so I can investigate it.

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  • Casino gambling in Poland
  • Bingo in Poland
  • Poker in Poland
  • Sports betting in Poland
  • Lottery in Poland
  • Bitcoin gambling in Poland

Casino gambling in Poland

Casinos in Poland: legal since 1918, operators require a licence, slot halls are also legal

Online casino gambling in Poland: illegal, players who play in unlicensed online casinos are prosecuted

Casinos are legal and licensed in Poland, although the 2009 Act on Gambling Games imposed severe restrictions on their operations, such as an upper limit for gaming tables set to 70, higher tax rates and limited the number of casinos based on population number (there were 40 casinos prior to 2009, after the Ustawa o grach hazardowyc there were only 13, and since them it has dropped to around 15).

The legislation also condemned most gambling to casino establishments and slot halls and gaming machines in bars and pubs were banned (similar to most of Europe).

However, slot halls were relegalized in 2018, and they were made a monopoly of the state-owned gambling company Totalizator Sportowy Sp. z o.o..

Casinos were actually legal in 1918 already. However, they were banned during the Soviet occupation.

The oldest Polis casino is the Casino Hotel and Spa of Sopot from 1920, you can find a list of all the casinos in Poland here.

According to the regulations in place regarding gry losowe (games of chance), only the following types of games can be found in a Polish casino:

  • cylindrical games (e.g.: roulette, boule, money wheel);
  • gaming machines (gry na automatach, slots, video poker machines);
  • dice games (very rare, only 3 out of the 15 casinos in Poland have dice games, this is common in Europe, dice games are not widespraed);
  • card games (gry w kart, black jack, poker, baccarat

Online casinos are currently outlawed in Poland and there doesn’t seem to be any change on the horizon.

Polish authorities restrict access to unlicensed foreign casino sites and they have started to prosecute players who frequent these unlicensed offshore online casinos, despite the fact that this is against EU laws, as mentioned above.

The risks for ordinary players are reasonably small, authorities expressly stated that they would go after professional players and players who won really big and don’t pay taxes on their winnings.

Still, we do not recommend visiting unlicensed online casinos from Poland for these reasons.

/Comment: However, some online gambling websites seem to get around the law by getting a betting license, which is legal (see below, in the sports betting section) but they still allow their Polish players use the casino games on their website, they just simply report the generated revenue as sports betting activity to the authorities.

And some have special agreements with the government (e.g.: Betsson group). That’s why there are still some online casinos, which accept Polish players. You can see them below./

The licensed online casinos below accept players from Poland.

Online casinos, which accept players from Poland – click to see

The following online casino websites accept players from Poland: