Gambling Regulation in Poland
Gambling in Poland – Legal Framework
Gambling in Poland is subject to strict supervision of public authorities – it is highly regulated business, and the provision of gambling services a without the appropriate license or in violation of applicable laws risks criminal and financial liability. In addition, some gambling games are subject to a state monopoly and cannot be provided by free market operators. This article is an overview of the gambling system operating in Poland and a description of the requirements that have to be met in order to operate in the field of gambling.
The legal acts that regulate gambling in Poland include:
- Gambling Act of Poland – sets out the rules for conducting gambling activities, the conditions for holding games and the rules for taxation,
- Law on the National Tax Administration – specifies the rules for carrying out inspections and other activities delegated by the Minister of Finance,
- Fiscal Penal Code – contains a catalog of fiscal crimes and offenses against the organization of gambling and specifies the penalties for committing them,
- Other executive acts issued pursuant to the aforementioned laws.
The framework for gambling activities is set by the Gambling Act of Poland, of course, and this is the source for all other regulations. The gambling market is very closely guarded by law enforcement agencies in Poland, hence in addition to the supervision of the Minister of Finance, a very large part of the operational competence is also held by the National Revenue Administration, including the Customs and Fiscal Service, as well as the Police.
Gambling in Poland – Key Facts
|Gambling Regulation||Gambling Act of Poland|
|Licensing Authority||Minister of Finance|
|Types of gambling games||
|Time required to obtain the license||approx. 6 months|
|License validity period||
|Scope of state gambling monopoly||Numbers games, cash lotteries, telebingo games, and slot machine games performed outside of casinos|
|Casino license required for||Cylinder games (roulettes), card games, dice games and slot machine games|
|Promotional lotteries, raffle lotteries and raffle bingo||May be arranged on the basis of a license, or, if the value of the jackpot does not exceed the base amount, the on the basis of notification|
Gambling Supervision Authority
The procedures for obtaining a gambling license are under the authority of the Polish Ministry of Finance – it is this authority that verifies that:
- all requirements required by law have been met,
- then grants the license, and further
- controls whether the activity is run in legal manner.
The competencies of the Ministry of Finance may be delegated to subordinate specialized gambling units.
Gambling Games – Definition
According to Polish law gambling games are:
- Games of chance – are games for winnings of money or property, the outcome of which depends on chance, including but not limited to draw games, cash lotteries, bingo, promotional lotteries, etc.,
- Betting (mutual bets) – these are bets for winnings in cash or in kind, the amount of which depends on the total amount of stakes paid, involving guessing of:
- Sports Performance,
- The occurrence of various events, including virtual ones,
- Card games – including Black jack, Poker and Baccarat (baccara, punto banco)
- Slot Machine Games.
Above mentioned definition of gambling game is critical as it defines activities that required license.
Gambling License in Poland
|The organization of gambling games in Poland and the conduct of gambling business is allowed only on the basis of an appropriate license granted by the Minister of Finance or other designated authorities|
The Gambling Act of Poland distinguishes three types of regulatory restrictions / licenses:
- permit, and
All of which are hereinafter will be collectively referred to as “license”. The type of licenses depends on the type of gambling game and the procedure that precedes its obtaining.
Who can apply for gambling license?
The catalog of entities that can offer gambling in Poland is strictly defined. The required form of activity also depends on the type of games offered – for betting, cylinder games, card games, slot machine games these requirements are:
- Joint stock companies or limited liability companies operating on the territory of the Republic of Poland,
- Companies operating under the rules applicable to the aforementioned companies, based in another European Union or EFTA member state – in this case, it is necessary to:
- establish a Representative in Poland, or
- Open a Branch in Poland.
Gambling License – corporate requirements
For betting, cylinder games, card games, slot machine games – additional requirements that need to be met include:
- Shares in gaming companies may only be acquired:
- Individuals who are citizens of an EU member state or EFTA member state,
- Legal entities or unincorporated companies whose registered office is located in the territory of an EU member state or EFTA member state.
- Drawing up regulations for the organization of gambling and having them approved by the Minister of Finance,
- Share capital in the appropriate amount:
- 4,000,000 PLN – for games held in a gaming casino,
- 2,000,000 PLN – for betting and games arranged in a bingo parlor,
- No preferred stock or shares,
- Appointment of the supervisory board,
- If gambling is offered by a joint-stock company – the shares can only be registered,
- There are no legitimate objections to the company, shareholders (holding more than 10% of shares), members of the representative bodies, supervisory board or audit committee, as well as to the company’s proxies from the point of view of the company:
- State Security,
- Public Policy,
- Security of state economic interests,
- Compliance with regulations governing AML.
- Members of the Management Board, Supervisory Board or Audit Committee have citizenship of Poland, another EU country, or another EFTA member state,
- There are no pending proceedings against the persons listed in item 7 for crimes against AML regulations,
- Shareholders (stockholders) holding more than 10% of shares (stock) are required to have an impeccable reputation and no criminal record.
Gambling License Application
Companies applying for a gambling license must submit an gambling request application containing:
- Copy of the company’s memorandum or articles of association and the number from the relevant commercial register of the company’s state of domicile;
- Registered designation of shares or stocks with a specified nominal value;
- Information on current and past legal status and financial situation;
- Personal data (names, surnames, citizenship, place of residence, type and series and number of identity document, information on education and professional experience) of shareholders who are natural persons, representing at least 10% of the company’s share capital, members of the management board, supervisory board and audit committee of the company and persons who are to exercise management over the gambling casino; in the case of commercial companies that are shareholders – also information on their current and past legal status and financial situation;
- A description of the geographic location and approval of the use of the building or place where the gambling is to be provided;
- The expected date of commencement of operations;
- In the case of betting – the anticipated type and number of bets, along with an indication of whether the bets will be arranged via the Internet;
- The estimated size of the workforce, specifying job positions;
- A description of the organization and operation of the company, in particular the rules for storing and recording capital;
- An economic and financial study, including, at a minimum, a determination of the investment and expected profitability;
- Draft regulations of games or betting tournaments, which specifies:
the name of the entity arranging the game or tournament;
- detailed terms and conditions of the game or tournament, including the determination of winnings, the date and place of the game or tournament;
- rights and obligations of participants in the game or tournament;
- The procedure and time limits for processing complaints and the procedure and time limit for filing claims made by participants in the game or tournament;
- The amount of capital of the game or tournament, intended for immediate payment of winnings…;
- The design of the system used to register visitors;
- Proposed conditions for posting collateral;
- In the case of betting – the consent of the organizers of sports competitions to use their results;
- Documents confirming the legality of the sources of capital, in particular:
- in the case of a shareholder who is a natural person, representing at least 10% of the company’s share capital – a certificate of the competent head of the tax office on the coverage of shares from the disclosed sources of income,
- in the case of shareholders who are legal entities – financial statements;
- Proof of no outstanding tax or customs duties,
- Proof of no pending payments for social security or health insurance contributions,
- Financial statements.
The interested party submits an application for a license to organize gambling games 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, barrister-at-law or attorney-at-law. Documents drawn up in a foreign language or their copies shall be submitted together with a certified translation into Polish.
Timing required to obtain a gambling license
Consideration of the application takes place within 6 months from the date of its submission. However, this is only an instructional deadline, so its violation by the authority has no legal effect.
Gambling License Fees
The fee is subject to:
- obtaining a license,
- amending a license,
- registration of a gaming machine, drawing device or gaming device,
- consideration of the application to resolve the nature of the games.
The amount of the fee is a multiplication of the “base amount,” which is the average monthly salary for the year. The base amount in 2023 is 6,565.44 PLN.
The fees are:
- license to operate a gaming casino – 32 000% of the base amount,
- license to arrange betting – 2 000% of the base amount, plus:
- for each betting point – 50% of the base amount,
- for arranging Internet betting – 2 000% of the base amount,
- for each betting website – 5 000% of the base amount,
- license to hold a promotional lottery – 10% of the value of the prize pool, but not less than 50% of the base amount,
- consideration of the application to resolve the nature of the game – 200% of the base amount.
Gambling License Collateral
In addition, the gambling operator is required to establish collateral to ensure the protection of players’ financial interest and tax obligations, in the amount of:
- 1 200 000 PLN – for the gaming casino,
- 600 000 PLN – for a cash bingo parlor,
- 40 000 PLN – for a betting shop,
- 480 000 PLN – in the case of arranging bets over the Internet.
Collateral may be:
- presenting bank or insurance guarantees,
- depositing the appropriate amount in a bank account designated by the licensing authority.
Who grants gambling license in Poland?
A license to operate a gaming casino, bingo parlor, and betting parlor is granted by the Minister of Finance.
A license to organize a raffle, audiotext lottery, bingo game or promotional lottery is granted by the director of the locally competent tax administration chamber.
Gambling license validity period?
A license to operate a gaming casino, arrange betting and operate a bingo parlor is granted for a period of 6 years.
License to organize a raffle, promotional lottery and audiotext lottery game is granted for a period of 2 years.
What is the content of the gambling license?
Polish gambling license includes:
- company name;
- the approved structure of shares or registered shares, as well as the names of members of the company’s management and supervisory boards;
- place of arranging the game;
- in the case of a license to organize Internet betting, additionally:
- The address of the website used to arrange bets,
- Rules for verifying the completion of 18 years of age by betting participants;
- the conditions to be met by the company, in particular regarding the collaterals;
- approved technical conditions for conducting visitor registration;
- the deadline for starting operations.
Gambling Business Compliance
Gambling tax in Poland
Gambling is subject to separate tax regulation, the amount of tax as well as the tax base varies depending on the type of gambling.
Gambling tax taxpayers
The taxpayer of gambling tax is:
- Entity that arranges gambling games on the basis of a granted license, with the exception of a promotional lottery
- Entity that arranges games covered by a state monopoly,
- Poker tournament participant.
|Gambling||Tax base||The amount of tax|
|Cash lotteries||sum of proceeds received from the sale of tickets / other evidence of participation in the game||15%|
|Audiotext lottery||revenue (understood in accordance with the provisions of the CIT Act)||25%|
|Number games||total stakes paid||20%|
|Betting on sports competition of animals,||total stakes paid||2,5%|
|Betting (other than competition of animals)||12%|
|Cash bingo||face value of playing cards||25%|
|Raffle bingo||nominal value of cartons used in the game||10%|
|Cylinder game, dice game, playing cards (except for a poker tournament)||the amount representing the difference between the sum of the stakes paid and the sum of the rewards paid||50%|
|Poker tournament||the amount of the winnings less the amount of the entry fee for participation in the tournament||25%|
|Slot machine game||the amount representing the difference between the sum of the stakes paid and the sum of the winnings obtained by the participants of the game||50%|
Reporting obligations in gambling
Gambling operators also have record-keeping and reporting obligations, including the duty to maintain:
- books on:
- trading chips and cash in a gaming casino,
- trading of playing cards in a cash bingo parlor,
- operation of the gaming machine,
- records of tax bases,
- tips register.
In addition, these entities are required to provide:
- information on their operation – at the request of the Minister of Finance,
- statements of economic and financial data – quarterly to the Minister of Finance.
Conducting gambling activities in violation of the Gambling Act is subject to the imposition of fines, the amount of fines depends on the type of violation.
As an example: – organization of gambling games without the required license or notification is subject to:
- In the case of slot machine games – penalty of PLN 100,000 for each machine,
- In the case of betting – penalty of 5 times the license fee.
A decision imposing a fine on a gambling entity may be appealed to the competent director of the tax administration chamber.
Q&A – Gambling in Poland
How do I check if the game I offer falls under the Polish Gambling Act?
According to Article 2 of the Gambling Act, it is possible to apply to the Minister of Finance for a decision determining whether a game or bet has gambling characteristics. The application should be accompanied by, among other things, a description of the venture.
Can a gambling license be transferred?
A gambling license is assigned to a specific entity, so it cannot be transferred to another entity. However, shares of entities holding the license may be acquired by other entities, so changes of shareholders after the license is obtained are possible. In such a situation, it is necessary to remember to meet the origin requirements of the entities acquiring the shares and to report the new shareholding structure to the license-issuing authority.
What are the types of licensed gambling games in Poland?
Games of chance, betting, card games, slot machines.
What is the required time to obtain a gambling license in Poland?
It is approximately 6 months.
What is the gambling license validity period in Poland?
Gaming casino, arrange betting and operate a bingo parlor license is valid for 6 years. Raffle, promotional lottery and audiotext lottery game license is valid for 2 years.
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.
The base amount in 2023 is 6,565.44 PLN
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.