The Polish gambling industry has taken a hit in recent weeks as huge bookmakers withdraw their services.
New regulatory restrictions will be enforced on April 1 after Poland passed the amendments to the Polish Gambling Act last December.
While the amendments to the Act saw the addition of online casino, poker, and bingo games to online sports betting and lottery products, only state licensed operators can provide these options.
Offshore operators are once again being blocked and to enforce the restrictions, domain and payment-blocking of unauthorised gambling sites will be implemented.
As a result, some of the biggest betting operators from around the world are withdrawing their services before the legislation is enforced next month.
“This means that none of William Hill’s products will be available in Poland anymore by April 1st, 2017 and players will need to withdraw funds from their accounts until the end of March,” the email reads.
“By April 1st, 2017, players will need to contact CS [customer support] to withdraw funds.”
But William Hill hinted in the email it may return to the market, despite the hefty 12 percent tax on sports betting imposed on local licensers.
“William Hill is obliged to cease to accept business from customers in Poland, for the time being, we are confident that we will have the opportunity to work together in the future.”
Bet365 will withdraw by March 30.
There will be offshore operators which continue to offer their services to Polish players but the government plans to attack these sites by July 1 using blocking measures.
EnergyBet also left the market a few days ago and mirrored the frustration shared by other operators and Polish players.
“EnergyBet management has been watching developments regarding regulations in Poland closely for some time, and had hoped that the Polish government would listen to the advice of the EU and other authorities,” EnergyBet said in a statement.
“Sadly, however, this was not the case, and the new highly restrictive and hostile regulatory environment has made continued operations unviable.”
EnergyBet is referring to the fact the EU Commission did not agree to the amendments, but it appears Poland has ignored their recommendations. Operators have also submitted formal complaints to the European Court of Justice
Betting operator Pinnacle Sports exited the market last month and we will update you here with any other major operator withdrawals.
There is no sign penalties for individual players gambling at these sites will be imposed, but there are rumours the government is considering it.