Poland’s online sports bettors will soon have another wagering option after French operator Betclic Everest was issued a local license.
On September 26, Poland’s Ministry of Finance updated its list of online sports betting licensees to include BEM Operations Ltd, a subsidiary of France’s Betclic Everest Group. The list now contains 10 government-approved online betting operators.
Betclic Everest domains had previously enjoyed prominent placement on Poland’s rapidly expanding blacklist of forbidden online gambling sites (which added nearly 500 domains last month alone). The last Betclic domains were added to the blacklist in July.
Poland’s regulated online market restricts licensees to sports betting only, as online casino products have been reserved for the state-run Totalizator Sportowy lottery business. Poland taxes its sports betting licensees at a punitive rate of 12% of betting turnover, which many international operators believe makes the Polish market a non-starter.
Polish-licensed sportsbooks reported impressive gains in 2017 after the country’s regulated market officially kicked in on April 1 of that year. Polish-licensed operators’ share of the online market reportedly grew from 10% pre-regulation to 40% by the end of 2017.
The lack of a Polish license hasn’t deterred some internationally licensed online operators from continuing to cater to the needs of Polish punters. This week, financial media outlet Money.pl reported on the persistence of the Kindred Group’s Malta-licensed Unibet in convincing Polish customers that their site was worth a visit.
The report details a Polish punter being cold-called by a rep from Unibet – which currently has 38 domains on Poland’s online blacklist – who insisted that the company was “still working” on acquiring a local license, but “it is not so easy” to garner regulatory approval. The punter’s call display showed a Polish number, despite the rep admitting he was calling from abroad.
A Kindred spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by Money.pl, saying only that the company was awaiting a final ruling by European Union courts on the legality of Poland’s restrictive regulatory scheme. (Kindred has successfully challenged Hungary’s restrictive online regulations, although the country essentially shrugged in response.)