Poland is taking legislative steps to reduce barriers for entry for international online gambling operators. Poland officially authorized online sports betting in 2011 but so far has managed to attract just four operators – Fortuna Entertainment, Milenium, STS and Intralot subsidiary Totolotek – in part because of the restrictive terms of the Polish Gambling Act, which has been criticized by the European Commission for failing to abide by European Union edicts on open trade.
Poland’s Ministry of Finance has now published a draft amendment to the Act that would lift the requirement for Polish-licensed online operators to incorporate a subsidiary within Poland, although operators would still need to maintain a local branch office for tax purposes, with books and records recorded in Polish. The new arrangement would invite any EU-registered company – as well as those in Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway – to apply for licenses.
The amendment would also require bookies to impose further responsible betting measures, including providing records of player wins/losses at their request and periodically reminding players just how long they’ve been gambling. Sadly, there’s still no suggestion that Poland intends to lift its ban on online casino or poker, nor that it’s considering cutting operators a break on tax rates, which can range up to 12% of revenue for some sports.
In Portugal, the government is looking to incorporate different kind of player protections as it prepares to regulate its own online gambling market. Pùblico reported that the government will require Portuguese-licensed operators to share player data with the country’s gaming regulator, the Inspecção-Geral de Jogos (IGJ), in order to compile a blacklist of compulsive gamblers.
The plan is intended not only to mitigate the harm these gamblers can do to themselves but also to demonstrate to the public that the government isn’t approaching the gambling liberalization issue in a cavalier manner. The blacklist will include players’ names, ages and social security numbers. The IGJ will use the list to keep problem gamblers from accessing the online sites as well as curbing their capacity to wager at brick-and-mortar casinos. Operators who allow blacklisted players to wager online could face fines in the “millions of Euros.”