Poland – Mysterious gambling salons

State-owned gambling facilities with gaming machines were to be opened in 2017. Later on, it was about to be the first quarter of 2018. Time has passed, and Totalizator Sportowy delays the deadline again. Although they are supposed to bring millions of zlotys to the state budget, no one wants to reveal what they will look like.

State gambling machines are supposed to fill the gap in the closed gambling salons of the outlawed gambling industry last year. Still, the date of their emergence is being postponed. There is also no information as to how the premises will actually look, nor the machines standing in them.

Responsible for launching and running it Totalizator Sportowy, when asked about it, remains tight lipped. All attempts to reveal this mystery are confirmed by a reference to official announcements.

With them, however, we can only conclude that the premises must have an area of at least 100 sq m. However, not a word about how the model will look like. However, it is known who will develop the machine. These will be other State Treasury companies. The Wojskowe Zakłady Łączności, Exatel and Polska Wytwórnia Papierów Wartościowych will be responsible for preparing and delivering machines for selected points. They are also responsible for complete software for them.

According to Totalizator Sortowy, the process of certifying the machines is currently underway, as well as integration tests of the Register of the Player and the Central System. Works on ensuring the safety of the players have also been completed. As the operator informs, it will be introduced among others, the possibility of temporary exclusion from the game and limits of activity in the game and funds for the game.

Past due one-armed

Totalizator once again ensures that the gaming rooms will soon be launched. They convince that the synergy of WZŁ, Exatel and PWPW companies will make “the launch of a network of gaming stores faster than in the case of monopolists operating in other countries”. The pilot from 1.2 thousand of machines have – according to Totalizator’s assurances – to be opened in the second quarter of 2018, wich would be at the end of June. Ultimately, there will be 50 premises.

    “The pilot will analyze the potential of the market, assess the structure of the sales network, and estimate the flow of players between the legal and illegal market. It is an extremely capital intensive project, it also requires building new competences “

– informs Totalizator Sportowy.

The problem is that this is not the first declaration of this operator. Several hundred of the first devices were to reach the end of last year to 50 new arcades.

    “We are thinking about starting 50 points with several hundred devices. We have 43 locations selected at the moment. We will observe how these machines have been adopted by the market, how it works. In 2-3 years’ perspective, we would like to exhaust what the law gives us, that is 35 thousand devices “

-assured in March last year p.o. President of the company Radosław Śmigulski.

Time passed and the lounges did not take off. Mrs Agnieszka Kołacz-Leszczyńska and Joanna Frydrych spoke about their fate. The Ministry of Finance reply to their interpellation showed that the first salons of games with one-armed bandits will appear in the first quarter of 2018.

In February, another MP – Kukiz 15 Józef Jóźwiak became interested in the issue, asking further questions about the progress in implementation, costs and the number of accepted gaming points.

According to the ministry’s response from April, 88 locations for arcades have been approved, and in case of 37, there are still proceedings. The Ministry of Finance also confirmed that the launch of the first games salons is planned for the second quarter of 2018. The pilotage referred to above will continue until the end of 2018.

With regard to finance, it was avoided by a detailed answer, arguing that the costs could only be demonstrated after the start of operations.

Lotto owner is a monopolist

With the beginning of April 2017, Totalizator Sportowy became the only company that has the right to “perform a state monopoly on gambling activities”. Simply put, it is the only company that can organize official gambling in Poland.

Until the end of last year, the National Tax Administration (KAS) scanned 37,500 locations of machines throughout Poland. By virtue of the gambling law, effective since April last year, over 80,000 illegal gaming machines had been seized. – confirms the Ministry of Finance.

In connection with the decision of the then Prime Minister – Beata Szydło – the owner of the Lotto brand will also be the only operator of slot machine games, so called one-armed bandits.

How to earn from gambling?

Every year, the state budget lost millions of zlotys in the gray zone. Global Compact estimates showed that at least PLN 552 million a year is not paid to the joint fund due to gambling mafia activities.

The act is to change it. According to information from the Ministry of Finance, the state budget revenues from games tax in 2017 were to amount to PLN 1.7 billion.

As the Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Finance explained in the answer to the parliamentary interpellation, Deputy Head of the State Treasury, Piotr Walczak, only from mutual bets accepted via the Internet, the state treasury was enriched by PLN 147.8 million.

In the future, profits will be much higher. In government Regulatory Impact Assessments, it was assumed that only in the first period of the functioning of the Act, about PLN 637 million will go to the budget, and in the next year almost PLN 1.5 billion. And ultimately, it is to bring over PLN 2.3 billion a year. In the decade, it is over PLN 23 billion.

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