The Polish bookmaking industry has urged the government to support the sector in saving ‘thousands of jobs’ in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bukmacherzyrazem – the Employers and Employees of the Bookmakers Companies Association – warns of widespread closure of betting shops across Poland, which will have a knock-on effect on the Polish economy.
The trade association has requested that the government consider a 2% reduction in taxes on the gambling and lottery sectors ‘ for the duration of the state of epidemic emergency in the country, but not less than for the period from March to August 2020’.
In addition to this, it has been requested that the government postpones the payment date of the tax on gambling and lottery to September 2020.
There are approximately 1,500 betting shops across Poland, all of which closed their doors on 14 March over concerns for public and employee safety. The Employers and Employees of the Bookmakers Companies Association has highlighted that this closure has resulted in a ‘ drastic reduction in the financial capabilities of individual companies in the industry’.
In a statement, the trade association said: “It should be emphasised that for many years the industry has operated in tough conditions, as it was forced to compete with illegal, foreign operators who functioned in Poland without paying taxes. Despite numerous appeals from licensed operators, no effective solutions have been introduced.
“The situation only started to improve after the amendment of the Act of 2017. Now, the state authorities should control the “grey market” even more effectively to help legitimate companies in this challenging period.
“The industry has never before asked the state authorities for help and financial support. Meeting the above demands will allow the bookmaking industry to survive this difficult time, and after the situation normalises, to return to work immediately, offering customers invariably the highest level of services, without the simultaneous expansion of the “grey market” which avoids paying public levies in Poland.”
Earlier this year, polish gambling trade body Polska Izba Gospodarcza Branży Rozrywkowej (PIGBRiB) published a report outlining a number of changes to the nation’s online and land-based gambling frameworks.
The PIGBRiB report urged ministers to rethink policy on ‘four critical criteria’ to help Poland develop an ‘effective regulated gambling marketplace’. The trade body urges ministers to prioritise:
- The development of a strict ‘state-sanctioned supervisory unit’ monitoring all regulated operators and services.
- Developing gambling legislation on social and economic merits, benefitting state revenues and eliminate ‘grey areas’ for market incumbents.
- The body recommends the constant analysis of state and private enterprises to balance market conditions for the benefit of both actors.
- To develop consumer-led gambling policies, which incorporate the opinions of the consumer with regards to legislating gambling products, advertising and market restrictions.