William Hill and Bet365 set to leave Poland, with players asked to withdraw funds.

  • Bet 365 and William Hill the latest bookmakers to leave the Polish gambling market
  • Exodus blamed on Poland’s new gambling laws

Fans of online casino operators and bookmakers Bet365 and William Hill living in Poland are set to have to look elsewhere as both firms head for the exit door ahead of changes to the country’s gambling laws, it has been reported.

Both Bet365 and William Hill are reportedly heading for the exit door from Poland.
Both Bet365 and William Hill are reportedly heading for the exit door from Poland.

The changes were signaled last December when the Polish parliament passed an amended Polish Gambling Act. The Act effectively blocks the online activities of operators that do not possess a Polish gambling license, and while the effect of the Act was delayed by a referral to the European Commission, it comes into effect at the end of March.

In the wake of the Act, a number of online companies said they would leave the Polish market rather than apply for a Polish license. Pinnacle and EnergyBet have already announced that they would be leaving and now it seems that William Hill and Bet365 are following suit.

Both companies have already instructed their Polish customers to withdraw their funds before the end of the month and their marketing partners have been required to remove any links or advertising related to the Polish market.

Nationalization of gambling

The Act represents a further tightening of the regulatory framework in the Polish gambling market, along with a degree of nationalization of gambling in the country. It retains the controversial 12% tax on sports betting turnover that has been criticized by the Remote Gambling Association and even by some members of the government and while it does provide Polish gamblers with access to online gambling products, the Act stipulates that this must be through the state-run Totalizator Sportowy lottery monopoly.

In a letter to William Hill affiliates, the company suggests the possibility that they may at some point seek to acquire a Polish gambling license and return to the Polish market. But for the time being, as the Polish government moves ahead with plans to impose blocking measures on operators who don’t have a Polish license from July, the flight of online gambling companies from the country may well continue.

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