GRAJ: STS grows in dominance of ‘unprotected’ Polish market

GRAJ Legalnie, Poland’s sports betting trade association, has warned the government that the performance and tax earnings of licensed incumbents is being impacted by ‘grey zone operators’.

Publishing its 2020 market report tracking the activities of Poland’s regulated sports betting incumbents, GRAJ has revealed that ‘grey zone activities account for several dozen percentage points from the licensed market’.

The association also stated that Poland’s 19 licensed sportsbook operators (retail and online) generated a combined market turnover of ZL 7.2 billion (€1.6 billion).

Despite facing COVID-19 headwinds, licensed incumbents are reported to have generated ZL 800 million (€170m) in tax duties to Poland’s Treasury during the course of 2020.

A breakdown of licensed operators sees STS increase its market share to 46% (2019 45%) as the Mateusz Juroszek-owned gambling group records revenues of ZL 3.3 billion.

STS maintains its growth as predominant market rival Fortuna Entertainment sees its market share decrease by 3% to 28%, with the Czech betting group seeing its Polish revenues slip to ZL 2 billion (2019: ZL 2.2bn).

Whilst STS and Fortuna lead the Polish sector, the remainder of the market share is fought by Poland’s 17 other licensed incumbents competing for single-digit growth.

GRAJ has encountered challenges in calculating the true value of the Polish gambling industry, accounting for vast grey market online gambling operators targeting the market.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 retail closures compounded further difficulties for smaller market incumbents, as INTRALOT’s ‘Totolotek’ subsidiary closed its entire Polish retail portfolio.

GRAJ President Katarzyna Mikołajczyk praised STS for overcoming a year marred by difficulties, in which reform of Polish current market laws required much-needed attention.

“After a promising beginning, the second quarter brought the lockdown of global sport,” she said. “The most flexible companies with a diversified portfolio and well-developed produce and technology were able to make up for the losses incurred during those months.

“The best example of this is the market leader – STS. The company, despite a decline in revenues in the second quarter, achieved at the end of 2020 a result better than in the previous 12 months.”

“The pandemic has also affected its local betting shops, most of which have been closed during the lockdown. After reopening, traffic at many of these locations did not return to pre-pandemic levels, and some customers moved to the online channel.”

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