Poland’s new online gambling blacklist undergoes growth spurt


POLAND-ONLINE-GAMBLING-BLACKLISTPoland has updated its blacklist of the online gambling domains it intends to block starting this summer.

On Friday, Poland’s Ministry of Finance added more names to its list of domains deemed to be offering online gambling services to Polish punters without the necessary local license. The list made its first appearance last month in a test mode but the Ministry has since decided it’s official time to take (domain) names and kick ass.

The list doesn’t contain a whole lot of household names, but there are a few familiar faces, including Marathonbet, Bet-at-home and Vulkanbet. The majority of the domains are either .com or .eu, although there is one Polish site, the Kahnawake-licensed Pankasyno.pl, as well as the Curacao-licensed 10futuriti.ru.

Under the amended Polish Gambling Act passed last December, all online operators not holding a Polish license were supposed to exit the market as of April 1. Many big operators have duly complied, likely fearing that their inability to legally justify their continued presence in Poland could create problems with regulators in other, more lucrative European online markets.

Starting July 1, the Ministry will begin compelling local internet service providers to block access to blacklisted domains. Polish ISPs must block access within 48 hours of a domain appearing on the blacklist, and ISPs are also required to restore access to domains within 48 hours of their removal from the blacklist. Failure to comply with these rules will make ISPs liable for fines of up to PLN 250k (US $64,500) per incident.

Telko.in reported that Polish ISPs are understandably skittish over the new rules, in part because the instructions they’ve received are so vague. Questions remains as to whether ISPs are responsible for blocking all sub-domains of blacklisted sites, or how ISPs should proceed if/when operators resort to directing customers to IP addresses instead of domains.

While some operators have signaled their intention to apply for a new Polish online license, most seem content to sit on the sidelines until Poland makes good on its promise to amend its punitive 12% tax on sports betting turnover.