Poland’s online poker may be restricted to a state monopoly

A draft amendment may mean that online poker in Poland will be restricted to a state monopoly provider.

Poland.- Poland’s new gambling laws come into effect in early 2017, and they’re estimated to add a total population of nearly 50 million people to the nationally regulated online poker markets in the European Union (EU). A recently draft amendment may mean that online poker will be restricted to one provider managed by Poland’s state.

The amendment allows live tournaments to be played outside casinos, as well as extending the range of online games that will be permitted. The amendment has been sent to the EU Commission, and they need to agree that it is in compliance with Europe’s treaties before the country can be authorised to implement the new law.

A state monopoly provider would mean that giant offshore operators like 888, PokerStars and Partypoker would not be allowed to apply for licenses to enter Poland’s market. The state monopoly will have the responsibility for running gaming machines in gaming machine venues. The law explicitly states that this task can be outsourced to third party providers, but does not clarify whether or not online poker could be similarly outsourced.

Malta is expected to object to the state monopoly concept, considering that in the past it has objected to any restrictions that individual nations have introduced that outshines the Malta Gaming Authority. Of the 28 member states of the EU, only a handful now lack a legal framework for online poker regulation, although one of these is Germany, the largest EU economy.

Dominika Mizielinska, from K&L Gates LLP, said that the draft amendment addresses the demands of poker players by allowing organisation of tournaments outside casinos and without a casino license, based on a prior notification to the Customs Office and tournament rules approved by the Minister of Finance. “Playing poker online will become legal if organised by a state-owned company,” she added.