Poland Gambling License

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With a population of almost 38 million inhabitants, Poland is the fifth most populous EU member state and the 9th largest country in Europe, with an area of 312,685 square kilometers. Poland is a country located in Central Europe. It is bordered by Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine and Belarus to the east, and the Baltic Sea, Lithuania, and Russia (the Kaliningrad Oblast exclave) to the north.

Poland is generally considered to be a high-income country by the World Bank, with a gross national income (GNI) per capita of $16,470 in 2020. The country is ranked as the 22nd largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the 11th largest in Europe.

According to the Speedtest Global Index by Ookla, which is a website that provides internet speed test services, as of January 2023, Poland ranks 26th in the world for fixed broadband internet speed.

Gambling in Poland is regulated by the Polish government, which permits certain forms of gambling while prohibiting others. In general, the government takes a strict approach to gambling, with a focus on preventing problem gambling and ensuring that the industry is conducted in a fair and transparent manner.

The main types of legal gambling in Poland include state-owned lottery games, sports betting, and casino gambling. However, online gambling is restricted to a limited number of licensed operators, and there are restrictions on the number of casinos that can operate in the country.

Despite the restrictions on gambling in Poland, the industry continues to be a significant source of revenue for the government, with the state-owned lottery company alone generating billions of zlotys in revenue each year. However, there is also a significant black market for gambling in Poland, with unlicensed operators offering a range of illegal games and services to customers.

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1. Regulatory framework

Is there a Gambling Act in force?

Yes. The Gambling Act (ustawa o grach hazardowych) dated 19 November 2009, and amended in 2018.

Is online gambling a regulated activity?

Yes. Except for sports betting and promotional lotteries, online gambling is a state monopoly.

Are there gambling regulatory authorities?

Yes. Generally, the main regulator is the Finance Minister.
Website: www.gov.pl/web/finanse

Is there a regulatory regime for gambling advertising?

Yes. Gambling advertising, promotion and informing about sponsorship is subject to a regulatory regime (however, it is different for different games).

2. Corporate structure and governance

Is it necessary to establish a company in Poland to carry out gambling activities?

Yes. A joint-stock company or a limited liability company with its registered office in Poland that has obtained a gambling license may carry out the following activities: Activities with slot machines, card games, dice games and bingo games cash and mutual bets.
There is also an exception to the general rule, namely, subject to certain conditions, these activities can also be carried out by joint-stock companies, limited liability companies or companies operating under the conditions applicable to these companies, with their registered office in another state member of the European Union or in a member state. of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area.

Is there a certain mandatory legal form of business to establish a gambling company?

Yes. As a rule, only a joint stock company or a limited liability company with its registered office in Poland can carry out such gambling business, with the exceptions mentioned above.

Can foreign shareholders establish a local branch?

Yes. Shares in such companies can be acquired by: (i) a legal entity or a company without legal personality, whose seat is in a member state of the European Union or in a member state of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) , parties to the agreement on the European Economic Area; (ii) a natural person who is a citizen of a member state of the European Union or a member state of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and parties to the agreement on the European Economic Area. This restriction does not apply to the foreign companies listed above.

Are there any restrictions on foreign investment?

Yes. Foreign investment restrictions include, e.g. regulations regarding the acquisition or taking up of stocks or shares in companies, as described above.

Are there minimum requirements regarding the share capital needed to establish a gaming company?

Yes. As a rule, the minimum amount of a joint stock company’s or limited liability company’s capital operating in the field of: (i) games conducted in casinos, is PLN 4,000,000 (EUR 825,000); (ii) games organised in a cash bingo hall or mutual bets, is PLN 2,000,000 (EUR 412,000).

Can foreign citizens be part of the management of a gambling company?

Yes. As a general rule, members of the company’s management board, supervisory board and audit committee must have either Polish citizenship or the citizenship of a European Union member state, a member state of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), parties to the agreement on the European Economic Area or the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. This requirement does not apply to the foreign companies mentioned above.

Apart from taxes, are there any other mandatory reporting requirements regarding the corporate governance issues of a gaming company?

Yes. These obligations include: providing information regarding their operation at the request of the authorities, submitting economic and financial data statements regarding the activity, providing information regarding certain changes in the structure of the share capital, the composition of the board of directors or the audit committee , termination of a contract. with a company representative (this applies to non-resident companies).

3. Licensing

Are gambling licensing clearly regulated by local regulations (including the licensing process, criteria, filing requirements, license conditions and ongoing compliance requirements)?

Yes. Essentially, the Gambling Act sets out a regulatory licensing framework for gambling.

Licenses for different types of gambling.

For any type of activity, it is necessary to obtain a gambling license, regardless of what it is called, which cumulatively meets the following criteria:
– implies the granting of a financial benefit, usually monetary;
– as a result of a public offer by the organizer of a potential win and the acceptance of such an offer by a participant;
– subject to the payment of a tax/participation fee (direct or indirect);
– winnings being determined based on the rules of the game.
The Gambling Act provides the details for obtaining such licence (including in sports).
Yes. As above. Please note that an organiser of mutual betting needs to have an agreement concluded with the respective national sport organisation allowing the use of the results of sports competitions.
Skill games?
There are no specific licence regulations concerning skill games as long as this concerns games where no element of chance is involved and where the results of the game depend solely on the participant’s skill.
Card Games?
A specific licensing regime governs card games.
Running a casino requires a special form of licence, namely a concession.
The Polish Gambling Act provides for different types of “lotteries”, e.g. raffle lotteries, promotional and audio-text lotteries. As a rule, to conduct such activity requires that a permit be obtained or that the respective notifications are made.
Arcades? No.
Insofar as an arcade does not involve games where an element of chance is involved (i.e. skill-based arcade games), there should be no specific licence-related regulations. However, the conduct of activity involving the organisation of slot machine games (that have an element of chance) is specifically regulated and is subject to specific concession rules.

Does a software developer creating video games for the gaming industry need a gaming license?

No. As a general rule, such activity might not fall under the regulatory regime of the Gambling Act. However, specific activity should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as producers of gambling devices fall under certain regulatory regime of the Gambling Act.

What is the term of a licence/permit?

For casinos, 6 (six) years. A permit to operate a cash bingo hall and a permit to arrange mutual betting, six years.
Permits to organise a raffle lottery, raffle bingo, promotional lottery and audio-text lottery, up to 2 (two) years.

How long does it take to obtain a licence/permit?

For a licence or permit, up to 6 (six) months. For a promotion lottery, audio-text lottery and raffle lottery, up to 2 (two) months.

Is there a limit to the number of licenses that can be granted?


Are there specific licensing requirements?

Yes. Yes.
There are specific and detailed licence requirements depending on the type of game.

4. Compliance

Are there mandatory AML rules in general and specific to the gambling industry?

Yes. The Polish Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act specifies entities operating in the field of games of chance, mutual betting, card games and slot machine games within the meaning of the Polish Gambling Act as obligated entities under the Act, which means that entities operating in specified areas of gambling falls have to adhere to AML obligations and rules.

Are there specific reporting obligations for gambling companies regarding AML and data protection?

Yes. General reporting obligations both for AML. For data protection, please see GDPR.

5. Data protection

Are there specific data protection regulations?

Yes. In Poland, in addition to the GDPR, the Act on Personal Data Protection of 10 May 2018 applies.
The Gambling Act of 19 November 2009 regulates certain details of data processing, e.g. the scope of personal data of guests registered at gaming centres, which should be recorded by the entity organising the game or of the winners, whose data is kept in the record of prizes paid.

Does it apply extraterritorially?

Yes. Just like the GDPR legislation.

Is there a data protection regulator?

Yes. The President of the Personal Data Protection Office (PUODO). For details, please see: https://uodo.gov.pl/en/478

6. Exchange control and other cross-border issues

Are there currency/exchange/finance controls to transfer cash in and out of the country?

Yes. Transferring cash out of and into Poland may be subject to a notification duty under the Act on Foreign Exchange Law of 27 July 2002 (Prawo dewizowe). If the amount of the transfer exceeds the equivalent of EUR 15,000, the transfer should be made via a bank or payment institution.

Where currency/exchange/finance or capital controls do exist?

The controls generally concern crossing a border with cash, payment transactions arising from gambling games, and anti-money laundering and terrorism financing regulations.
What is the approval regime and process in place?
Yes. The notification regime provides for the Act on Foreign Exchange Law of 27 July 2002 and concerns crossing a border with cash. A written notification is required.
Must permission be sought for each transaction, or can pre-approvals take place (subject to defined limitation, or otherwise)?
Yes. In principle, the notification system applies to every border crossing.
Other comments
Yes. Payment transactions arising from gambling games in Poland over the internet should be processed only via authorised payment institutions. AML rules may apply.

7. Marketing and Advertising

Is marketing and advertising allowed in the gambling industry?

Yes. As a general rule, advertising, promoting and announcing the sponsorship of cylinder games, card games, dice games, slot machine games and mutual betting are prohibited. However, advertising, etc. of licensed mutual betting is allowed on the conditions specified in the Gambling Act. There are also no specific prohibitions concerning “minor” forms of gambling, such as promotional lotteries.

Are there advertising restrictions for gambling companies?

Yes. The Gambling Act is both vague and strict as to the means of prohibited advertising, and also depends on the type of game.

Can gambling companies sponsor sports events?

Yes. This applies to businesses conducting mutual betting or this activity together with other activities that are not subject to advertising, promotion or sponsorship restrictions.
It is basically allowed to present information containing the name and other designation identifying the sponsor.

Are celebrities allowed to advertise gambling activities?

Yes. There is no explicit prohibition; however, numerous conditions need to be taken into account, e.g. permitted advertisements cannot evoke associations with sexual attractiveness, relaxation or rest, study or work and professional, life or financial success, and cannot be addressed to or involve minors.

Are there CSR requirements for gambling companies?

Yes. For example, income from a raffle lottery and raffle bingo is fully allocated to the implementation of socially useful purposes, in particular charitable purposes, specified in the permit and the rules of the game.

Are there any other restrictions/limitations on advertising gambling activities?

Yes. Gambling advertising is subject to numerous limitations and regulations, subject to the type of the game.

8. Tax

Is there any specific tax regime applicable to gambling companies?

Yes. The Gambling Act provides for a gambling tax. The tax rate depends on the type of game: betting on sports competitions involving animals is 2.5%; raffle lottery and raffle bingo game is 10%; other betting is 12%; a cash lottery is 15%; a numerical lottery is 20%; a cash bingo game and poker tournament game are 25%; a machine game, wheel game, dice and card game are 50%.

Is there a tax implication for transferring cash out of the country?

Yes. Withholding income tax may apply to income earned in Poland resulting from a share in the profits of legal entities located in Poland, royalties or interest payments, licence fees and remuneration for intangible services.

Is there a tax implication for transferring cash into the country?

Yes. The Tax on Civil Law Transactions may apply if the transferring of cash involves conducting, among others, a sales agreement, money loan agreement, taxable distribution, drawing up articles of association, etc.

Is there a tax implication for offering remote trading activities in the country?

Yes. Offering trading/gambling games remotely into Poland may be subject to gambling tax.

Are there any other comments on the taxation of gambling activities (local and remote)?

Yes. Organising or arranging gambling games in violation of the rules may be subject to the Penal Fiscal Code.

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