STS accuses Unibet of illegally targeting the Polish market.
Poland.- STS Gaming Group, the largest bookmaker in Poland, has lodged a lawsuit against Kindred Group‘s Unibet. It accuses the Swedish company’s subsidiary of breaking Polish law by targeting sports betting at consumers in the country without a local licence.
STS says Unibet has conducted “many years of illegal activity“, offering gambling without permission from the Ministry of Finance and using unauthorised advertising and promotion. It also flagged up Kindred’s marketing on the shirts of overseas football clubs in matches played in Poland.
It notes that Unibet has a website in the Polish language and has changed its domain name to avoid blocking. It says the brand’s site has appeared listed in the register of prohibited domains 159 times. It also argued that Polish customers are put at risk of penal or fiscal liability for placing bets wagers with an unlicensed operator.
STS board member Zdzisław Kostrubała said: “While some gambling companies, after the entry into force of the 2017 amendment to the gambling act, withdrew from illegally offering gambling games in the territory of PL companies – Unibet continues to provide services in Poland, clearly violating the provisions of Polish law.”
STS says that Kindred could face a penalty of up to PLN 28.9m (€6m) if it’s found to have breached the Polish Gambling Act and an additional penalty of PLN 3m (€640,000) for providing gambling without a licence. It says that other licence holders are evaluating the possibility of launching a joint action against Unibet.
Kindred, along with other foreign operators, abandoned its Polish licence in 2017 after the government imposed a 12 per cent gross tax on turnover. Operators complained to the European Commission that Poland’s reforms breached European law by favouring domestic operators. The EC gave a warning to Poland to revise its technical framework, but the government has not complied.