Why Poland Will Regulate Online GamblingPublished May 2, 2008 by OCR Editor
Trying to make sense of the reasons why Poland has changed its mind and decided to regulate online gambling.
Poland's Deputy Finance Minister Jacek Kapica has announced his government's plan to regulate online gambling. This is expected to take place by the end of 2008.
A glimpse into the reasons behind the Polish change of mind was provided by Mr. Kapica when he said: "We cannot control this process anyway and it is better that the Budget at least derives some revenue from it."
A close look reveals additional reasons for the new policy.
Polish politics have seen several changes in recent years. Since the 2005 elections, Law and Justice (PiS) and Civic Platform (PO) have split time in power, whereas the former ruling party, the left-wing Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), has lost the people's support.
Currently, under the Liberal Civic Platform party rule, Poland realizes that banning online gambling would be too costly.
Dollars and Sense
Then there is the sheer economic reasoning. Merrill Lynch estimates that gross online gambling revenues could reach the high billion (as much as $48 billion by 2010). This is a different estimate than that made by analysts who claim regulation itself will be costly, and revenues lower.
It seems as if Poland has sided with the more optimistic forecast.
Lastly, the pressure from Europe, the European Union, and especially its Court of Justice seems practically insurmountable.
Last year's ECJ ruling that Italy may not use criminal law to ban online gambling sites based in European member countries will most likely influence other countries, in addition to Poland, already in coming months.