The global online gambling market has been rising for decades – valued at $80 billion, it’s expected to double by 2025 and triple by 2030 – and so has the Polish segment of it. Lotto.pl, STS.pl, and LVbet.pl – three major state lottery websites – are home to over 6 million frequenters and even more users in total. About 10% of Poles have visited an online casino at least once, and the majority of players spend between 15 to 30 minutes on gambling at a time.
There’s no doubt Polish gambling is successful in all of its forms, but that doesn’t mean there are no problems to deal with and be aware of. Whether you’re about to visit Poland as a tourist – and want to gamble a bit – or you’ve just started your gambling career, there are things about gambling in Poland you should know.
Before we start, though, let’s give some credit to Anna Rosak, a gambling expert from KasynoHEX, who helped us with this piece. And now, with no further ado, let’s take a deep dive into the intricacies of gambling in Poland.
The Unbreakable monopoly
The most desperate thing about Polish gambling is that it’s monopolized by the state. All forms of gambling are regulated by the Minister of Finance through the Act on Gambling Games of 19 November 2009 and the most recent amendment of April 1, 2017. It would only be logical to assume that Poland would slowly but steadily move towards the free gambling market, but no, the amendment did tighten the stranglehold on third-party gambling providers.
Here are the two main provisions from it:
- Only the websites licensed by the state can provide gambling services in Poland. Unlicensed websites are outlawed and blacklisted by the Minister of Finance.
- Internet providers are obliged to block access to the blacklisted websites and redirect users to governmental websites explaining the reasons for blockage.
Therefore, theoretically, you cannot access offshore websites like 22bet kasyno from the territory of Poland. In practice, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of international online casinos catering to Poles, while players are never prosecuted for playing there. It goes without saying, though, that you won’t be able to get any help from the government if the unlicensed website you’re dealing with defrauds or mistreats you.
Online gambling options for poles
Whether you’re a tourist or a citizen of the country, there aren’t too many options for you. It’s all reduced to:
- Playing at the only authorized website, Total Casino. It does provide quite a few games – slots, card games, roulettes, live casino games, etc. – but the choice is minuscule compared to the selection of games at offshore casinos. What’s more, only residents of the country are allowed to play at Total Casino, and they have to pay quite tangible taxes on their winnings: horse racing – 2.5%; bingo and lotteries – up to 20%; card/dice/wheel/machine games – 50%.
- Playing at unregulated casinos. Why would this even be an option? Well, because prohibitions directly apply to casino businesses, but not gamblers themselves, who are in fact allowed to play at international casinos at their own risk. At worst, you will be redirected to the governmental website stating that the particular casino is outlawed. Not too much of a problem, huh?
As you can see, you don’t have to be afraid of being caught red-handed, which means you can try and access any online casino you like…or maybe you’d want to go old-school, venturing into one of the brick-and-mortar gambling hubs.
Brick-and-Mortar casinos in Poland
Breathtaking sceneries, snowy mountains, wonderful parks, and other beauties of nature may force you to opt for a land-based casino. If so, you’ll have to select between 15 gambling dens scattered across Polish cities – Poznan, Krakow, Warsaw, Lodz, and Gdynia. The biggest one, the Olympic Sunrise Casino, is located in Warsaw and employs over 100 slot machines and 30 table games.
Last but not least, whether you’re playing online or in a real casino, don’t forget that gambling is addictive. If you’ve spotted symptoms of gambling addiction in yourself or your close ones, don’t hesitate to ask for help at international – BeGambleAware, Gamblers Anonymous, GamCare, etc. – or local problem gambling organizations.