Gambling in Poland is largely dominated by betting shop trade with the biggest three bookmakers, Totolek, STS and Professional operating over 1000 retail outlets between them throughout the country.
The money generated from the gambling trade does much for the Polish economy and this is mainly due to the unique tax system which the government places on betting activity.
Firstly, all turnover made by the industry is taxed at 10% whilst there is a further, secondary 10% tax levied on winnings.
Although most other countries operate a tax free system, betting in Poland remains extremely popular despite the double deduction.
There are a number of casinos situated within the country’s major cities; however it is sportsbook wagering which generates the most turnover within Poland, as highlighted by the hefty tally of betting establishments.
All three of the aforementioned companies have experienced strong growth in recent years as Poland’s betting culture has grown in tandem with the rest of Europe.
STS indeed experienced a huge upturn in terms of company value after receiving investment from British firm Stanley Bet in 2008 and they are likely to move on towards being the leading bookmaker in Poland.
Competition amongst the country’s betting shop giants will be rife in 2012 when the UEFA European Championships take place, with football already being the majority of people’s favourite gambling sport in Poland.
The Polish public do currently face heavy restrictions in terms of online gambling however, which is currently illegal.
Talks are on-going to potentially uplift the long standing ban, which could potentially see the likes of Totolek, STS and Professional expand to the internet and compete with some of Europe’s largest gambling companies.
Despite internet gaming being forbidden, many Polish people still engage with online betting via foreign companies, thus defying rules set out by the government.
There are however, no internet restrictions in place to block Polish web users from entering foreign betting websites, with many indeed welcoming them with open arms and even offering them a Polish language preference.
The worry on the governments behalf is the increasing threat of social problems and gambling addiction and that is why they are so keen to protect Polish people from state of the art internet betting websites which offer a great deal of opportunities and high staking levels.
Plans have also been put in place to remove all forms of gambling, including slot machines, from non-betting establishments, as they, like the lure of the internet, could potentially be harmful to vulnerable people and children.
Advertising and promotion may also be scrapped in the near future, a clear detriment to other companies and even sports teams who rely on lucrative sponsorship deals to operate.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has stated himself that the country’s already high level of gambling taxation could rise further in order to stamp out the risk of gambling addiction – leaving Poland, like many other countries, in a quandary as to how much the threat of social gambling problems really could cost society in relation to the amount of money which the betting industry generates for the national economy.