Bookmakers’ activity in Poland is regulated by law. To conduct this type of activity, it is necessary to obtain the permission of the Ministry of Finance. In order to obtain them, a number of statutory requirements must be met.
The rules for running legal bookmakers are set out in art. 6 par. 3 of the Gambling Act of July 19th 2009. According to its wording:
‘Activity on mutual betting operations may be conducted, as permitted, only at points of mutual wagering or via the Internet after obtaining the permission to arrange betting on them’.
The supplement to the above provision is art. 14 par. 3 of earlier mentioned Act, which indicates that:
“The acceptance of mutual bets is allowed – according to the granted permit – only at the mutual betting points or via the Internet under the terms and conditions specified in the approved regulations and the permit granted, as well as those resulting from the provisions of the Act”
The bookmakers’ activity in Poland is therefore strictly regulated by law and it is impossible to conduct them without a proper permit issued by the Ministry of Finance.
Importantly, the application for a permit to bookmaking can be submitted by a strictly limited group of business entities. With this type of application, national joint-stock companies or limited liability companies may apply. The right to submit an application is also available to companies that operate under the rules applicable to the aforementioned companies and which have their registered office in the territory of an EU or an EFTA Member State (in accordance with Article 7a (1) of the Act).
Requirements of art. 36
The application for permission to operate bookmakers should include a number of documents. Detailed requirements are set out in art. 36 of the Gambling Act. The mandatory documents includes copy of the notarial deed of the company’s articles of association / statute and the National Court Register number, registered name of shares or shares with a specified nominal value, information about the current and past legal status and financial situation of the company, personal data of shareholders representing min. 10% of the share capital of the company, members of the management board, supervisory board and audit committee, and in the case of commercial companies also data on their current and past legal status and financial situation.
The application should also indicate the likely starting date of the bookmaker’s activity, specify the type and number of bets along with information whether these will be organized via the Internet. You should also present draft regulations for mutual bets. An important issue is also the legality of the sources of company’s capital and confirmation of company’s activities compliance with the relevant provisions regulating counteracting money laundering and financing of terrorism. The Ministry of Finance also attaches importance to the integrity of the company’s shareholders, board members, the supervisory board and the audit committee.
To obtain a permit, proceedings against EU money laundering and terrorist financing can not be taken against them in EU or EFTA countries. They also can not be convicted of intentional crime or intentional fiscal offenses in EU countries.
Requirements regarding the application for permission to run mutual wagering in Poland are very extensive. If the bets are to be run by a foreign bookmaker or organized also via the Internet, the legislator indicates additional requirements for submitted documents (Article 36, paragraph 1a, paragraph 22 and Article 36a, respectively, for establishments via the Internet – Article 36, paragraph 8a).
In order to be sure that the application will not be rejected for formal reasons, it is worth using specialist legal and tax advice. Experienced lawyers will take care of the correctness of all documents submitted to the Ministry and will carry out future bookmakers throughout the procedure of obtaining permission and legally opening bets. Such support is also invaluable due to the need to settle strictly defined financial obligations by a company applying for a permit to organize mutual wagering.
Companies applying for a permit must demonstrate that they have an increased share capital at the minimum level PLN 2 million. This requirement significantly limited the pool of entities that can apply for an authorization to run such bookmakers.
In addition, obtaining a permit involves a number of other costs. The future bookmaker is obliged to submit a financial security in the amount of PLN 40,000. However, the above amount is multiplied, which depends on the number of points you have. The detailed conditions for the amount of the collateral required are set out in Art. 63 par. 2 of the above Act. What is important, according to art. 63 par. 2a, in case of betting on the Internet, the organizing entity is obliged to submit a financial security in the amount of PLN 480,000.
In addition to the above amounts, the entity applying for the permit must pay a fee for its granting. Its amount in the case of mutual bets is equal to 2000% of the base amount, which currently amounts to PLN 4,474. Amounts are also charged for each betting point (50% of the base amount), for the organization of bets via the Internet (2000% of the base amount) and for each website that will be used to arrange bets (5000% of the base amount).
Obtaining permission to run a legitimate bookmaker bets seems quite complicated. However, if the owners of the company take care of appropriate support in this area – in the form of an experienced law and tax office – obtaining it does not have to be difficult at all. However, due to a number of formal and financial requirements related to obtaining the permission of the Ministry of Finance, it is worth using the experienced support of specialists.
Professional advice, assistance in completing formalities and control of due dates may turn out to be worth its weight in this case.