Gambling Laws in Poland
What is the definition of betting (mutual bets) according to the Polish law?
Betting / mutual bets are bets for cash or non-cash winnings.
As per definition betting consists of:
- guessing the results of sports competitions (animals, people), in which participants pay stakes, and the amount of winnings depends on the total amount of stakes paid,
- the occurrence of various events (also virtual) in which participants pay stakes and the amount of winnings depends on the agreed ratio of deposit to winnings.
Regulation of Betting in Poland
The betting market in Poland (e.g. betting on sports results) has been regulated by the Gambling Act of Poland, which has been in force since the beginning of 2010.
Accepting bets is allowed – on the basis of a license granted by the Minister of Finance of Poland.
Pursuant to the betting license, accepting bets is allowed:
- at betting points or
- via the Internet on the terms and conditions set out in the approved regulations and the granted permit, as well as resulting from the provisions of the Gambling Act of Poland.
Betting License in Poland
Betting may be organized by the entities that meet the below listed conditions.
Legal form of betting company
Betting company in Poland may operate in legal form of:
- a joint stock company or a limited liability company, whose seat is located on the territory of the Republic of Poland
- a joint stock company or a limited liability company or a company operating on the principles applicable to these companies, which are established in the territory of another Member State of the European Union or a Member State of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – parties to the agreement on the European Economic Area, operating in the field of cylindrical games, card games, dice games, slot machine games, cash bingo games, betting or audiotext lotteries – under the condition of establishing a branch.
Shareholding of betting company
Shares of the betting company must be owned by
- legal persons or companies whose registered office is located in the territory of a Member State of the European Union or a Member State (EFTA),
- natural persons who are citizens of a Member State of the European Union or a Member State (EFTA).
Corporate requirements of betting company
- Share capital in the amount of at least PLN 2,000,000,
- Do not provide for the issuance of privileged shares,
- Has appointed a supervisory board,
- Issued only registered shares,
- Whose each partner (shareholder) holding at least 10% of shares (shares) guarantees proper conduct (i.e. with respect to which there are no justified objections from the point of view of state security, public order, security of economic interests of the state, as well as compliance with the provisions regulating counteracting money laundering and financing of terrorism),
- Management board, supervisory board or audit committee have Polish citizenship or nationality of a Member State European Union, Member State (EFTA),
- Each Partner (shareholder) holding at least 10% of shares / stocks, as well as Members of the management board, supervisory board or audit committee are not subject to proceedings in cases of crimes related to money laundering and financing of terrorism pending before the judicial authorities of a Member State of the European Union or a Member State (EFTA),
- Each Partner (shareholder) holding at least 10% of shares / stocks, as well as Members of the management board, supervisory board or audit committee have an impeccable reputation, including cannot be persons convicted of an intentional crime or intentional fiscal crime on the territory of a Member State of the European Union,
- Each shareholder (holding more than 10% of the company’s share capital), Members of the management board, supervisory board or audit committee, or proxies did not experience cancelation of the concession or permit due to a gross violation of the conditions (within 6 years before the date of submitting the application for a license or permit),
- Within period of 6 years before the date of submitting the application for a permit, the license or permit was not revoked due to a gross violation of the conditions set out in the licence, permit or regulations, or other conditions of conducting the activity for which the license or permit was granted, specified by law,
- Towards whom there are no justified objections from the point of view of state security, public order, security of the state’s economic interests as well as compliance with the provisions regulating counteracting money laundering and financing of terrorism.
Online bettings may be arranged by licensed entities as long as the following conditions are met:
- devices processing and archiving data on these betting, as well as their participants, should be installed and stored on the territory of a European Union Member State or an EFTA Member State,
- the entity arranging online betting via the Internet may only use a website whose national top-level domain is assigned to Polish websites,
- the entity arranging betting via the Internet is obliged to conduct, in real time, in a data archiving device located on the territory of the Republic of Poland or a Member State of the European Union or an EFTA Member State, archiving all data related to the organized gambling game, including those exchanged between the entity and the participant of gambling games, allowing to determine the course and result of the bet and the transactions carried out resulting from this bet, as well as the data necessary to identify the participant of the bet. Data storage must be created in a way that makes it impossible to change them without detecting this event by the software of the archiving device,
- the archiving device and its software must ensure the possibility of reconstructing the archived data in the event of their unintentional total or partial loss within 5 years from the end of the calendar year in which they were archived,
- the entity arranging betting is obliged to provide the authorities of the National Revenue Administration with access, including remote access, to the data stored in the archiving device and to provide appropriate tools and software for this purpose to ensure data security. Access to data should enable searching, sorting, filtering, browsing and printing of data,
- the entity ensures the integrity, completeness, confidentiality and accountability of data during all data-related processes, including their transfer, storage and sharing. The data is archived in a way that ensures obtaining unambiguous information about the time of the event and the time of its recording, including the date and time with the accuracy allowing to determine the sequence of events and their archiving.
Betting license – required documents
Entities applying for a permit to organize betting should submit the following documents to the Minister of Finance:
- application for a permit to organize betting,
- economic and financial study, containing at least the definition of the investment and the expected profitability,
- documents confirming the legality of the sources of capital
- contract / statute / founding act,
- a description of the organization and operation of the betting point, in particular the rules for storing and recording the betting capital,
- statement of shareholders (partners), who are natural persons, representing at least 10% of the company’s share capital, or a member of the company’s management board, supervisory board and audit committee, that no proceedings are pending against them before the judicial authorities of an EU Member State or an EFTA Member State – parties the EEA Agreement in cases of crimes related to money laundering and financing of terrorism,
- draft rules of mutual betting,
- certificate of no arrears in taxes or stating the state of arrears,
- certificate of no arrears in payment of ZUS contributions,
- certificate that the applicant is not in arrears with the payment of customs duties,
- a certificate that a shareholder (partner), being a natural person representing at least 10% of the company’s share capital, or a member of the company’s management board, supervisory board and audit committee, has not been convicted of an intentional crime or intentional fiscal crime in the territory of a European Union Member State,
- consent of the organizers of sports competitions for the use of their results,
- consent of the building owner,
- documents issued by competent authorities confirming the compliance of the company’s activities with the relevant provisions regulating counteracting money laundering and financing terrorism,
- Financial Statements,
- documents confirming the conduct of betting activities in another EU or EFTA Member State,
- contract with a representative -these documents are submitted only by joint stock companies or limited liability companies.
The interested party submits an application for a permit to organize betting along with attachments .Documents attached to the application should be submitted in the form of originals or copies certified as true copies by a notary public, attorney or legal counsel. Documents drawn up in a foreign language or their copies shall be submitted together with a certified translation into Polish.
Online betting license – required documents
In the case of betting organized via the Internet, the application should contain the following data/documents attached to the application:
- the address and technical documentation of the website that will be used to organize the bets
- draft rules for verifying the age of 18 by betting participants,
- expert opinion on evidence of participation in bets confirming their protection against unauthorized interference and the possibility of verifying their authenticity,
- rules for storing and recording the company’s capital.
In addition, the entity applying for the online betting license must document:
- the legality of the sources of capital,
- no arrears with the payment of taxes constituting the state budget income and payment of customs duties,
- no arrears with the payment of social security and health insurance contributions.
Only companies that document the compliance of the company’s operations with the relevant regulations: those regulating the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism, regarding the conduct of accounting, may apply for a permit to accept bets.
Betting license fee
The application is subject to a fee. The fee is 2,000% of the base amount plus:
- for each betting point – 50% of the base amount,
- for arranging betting via the Internet – 2,000% of the base amount,
- for each website used for betting – 5,000% of the base amount.
In 2022, the base amount is PLN 5,774.13.
Betting license application processing
The documents should be submitted 6 months before the planned commencement of betting. Then the Minister of Finance proceeds to verify the documents, checking whether they meet the formal requirements.
When the application does not meet the formal requirements, the Minister of Finance calls on the entity to remove the deficiencies within 7 days from the date of receipt by the entity of the summons, with the instruction that failure to remove the deficiencies within the prescribed period results in leaving the application without consideration.
When the application meets the formal requirements, the substantive verification of the requirements is carried out on the basis of the content of the submitted documentation. In the event of doubts or issues requiring clarification or clarification, the Minister of Finance calls on the entity to submit explanations or make corrections.
In the event of a positive verification of the application, the Minister of Finance makes a decision on granting a permit to organize betting. The betting license is granted for 6 years.
If the activity is not commenced within the period specified in the permit, the permit expires in whole or in part in which the activity was not undertaken.
The Minister of Finance may also refuse to issue a permit. The decision refusing to grant the permit may be appealed against. The appeal shall be lodged with the Minister of Finance within 14 days from the date of delivery of the decision.
An entity holding a permit to organize betting, which expires due to the expiry of the period for which it was granted, may apply once for its extension for a period of 6 years.
Advertising of Betting
It is allowed to advertise mutual bets in Poland, the organization of which has been granted a permit, provided that:
- is not directed at minors, does not depict minors and does not take place with the participation of minors,
- does not combine arranging games or participating in games with physical or intellectual fitness or a chance to win easily,
- does not contain claims that gambling has a relaxing, calming effect or is a way to resolve personal conflicts or financial problems.
Advertising cannot be conducted:
- on television, radio, cinema and theater between 6.00am and 6.00pm00 a 2200; excluding advertising carried out during broadcasts of sports events sponsored by an entity operating in the field of accepting bets or is a sponsor of a team or players taking an active part in a given sports event,
- in youth and children’s press,
- on the covers of newspapers and magazines.
Mutual games and the Act on Counteracting Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing
According to Art. 2 sec. 1 point 20 of the Polish Act on Counteracting Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, each entity operating in the field of games of chance, mutual betting, card games and slot machine games is an obligated institution. This means that he is obliged to meet numerous requirements imposed by the AML Act, including in particular:
- apply financial security measures to their clients,
- have an internal anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing procedure,
- recognize the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing related to a specific business relationship or a specific occasional transaction,
- report suspicious transactions.
An entity arranging gambling games that fails to comply with statutory obligations is subject to an administrative penalty. Administrative penalties include:
- publication of information about the obligated institution and the scope of violation of the provisions of the Act by this institution in the Public Information Bulletin on the website of the office servicing the minister competent for public finance,
- an order to cease taking specific actions by the obligated institution,
- withdrawal of the permit,
- a ban on performing duties in a managerial position by the person responsible for the breach by the obligated institution of the provisions of the Act, for a period not longer than one year,
- cash penalty.