Poland – Totalizator Sportowy’s intervention purchase of gambling machines

Totalizator Sportowy (TS) made an intervention purchase of, among others, gambling machines, in order to proceed to the implementation of the monopoly as soon as possible and secure the proceeds to the state budget – explains Deputy Finance Minister Tadeusz Kościński.

In an interpellation, Marek Sawicki (PSL-KP) asked for information on the functioning of the so-called one-armed bandits. He reminded that the amendment to the Gambling Act passed in December 2016 introduced a state monopoly on slot machine games outside casinos, and the state-owned company Totalizator Sportowy became the sole organizer of slot machine games.

Sawicki noted in his interpellation that the government assumed that in the second year of the new rules, the TS would provide approximately 35,000 of the so-called one-armed bandits, which will bring about PLN 1 billion to the budget.

“In March 2017, Radosław Śmigulski, then acting President of TS, announced strategic cooperation with the state Military Communications Works No. 1 (WZŁ). As part of it, military plants were to produce and supply Totalizator Sportowy not only machines, but also an IT system for their handling and reporting to the National Tax Administration. Media reports indicate that a decision was made to buy 300 so-called one-armed bandits from the German company Merkur Gaming, one of the largest manufacturers of machines, “wrote the MP.

“Due to the delay of the WZŁ no. 1 in preparation of a central system compliant with the contract, as at the date of this reply (July 16th – ed.), there has been no formal disposal and transfer of the central system to Totalizator Sportowy. Of course, the parties of the contract work closely together to make it happen as soon as possible and Totalizator Sportowy started implementation of the above mentioned central system as soon as possible.”- Tadeusz Kościński, Deputy Minister of Finance, wrote in response to the interpellation.

A similar answer was given by the deputy minister regarding the delayed implementation of the tested and repeatedly audited system prepared by WZŁ no. 1, the number of gambling machines produced by WZŁ no. 1, the status of their certification, the status of the central system software for the supervision and management of slot machines in showrooms or reasons for which the machines and the central system have not yet been put into commercial operation. Kościński stipulated that the TS expects the WZŁ no.1 to provide the central system in the condition agreed by the parties of the agreement. “Information on the current status of the central system is in the sole possession of the system manufacturer” – he added.

The resort was also asked “why TS purchased / rented from Merkur Gaming and Axes machines and registration system incompatible with the system ordered in WZŁ No. 1”.

“In the gaming industry, there are at least 5 different communication protocols that are more widely used. Due to the lack of compliance with the provisions of the contract and delays in the delivery of both the system and the machines, Totalizator Sportowy made an intervention purchase and chose the solution most widely used in the world as well as the simplest and the cheapest in implementation, so as to proceed to the implementation of the monopoly as soon as possible and secure the proceeds to the state budget “- we read in Kościński’s reply.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the cooperation of the purchased machines with the central production system of WZŁ is technically possible. However, as indicated, information on TS contracts is of significant business importance to the company and therefore is not disclosed to the public. “The most important contracts concluded within the framework of the implementation of the state monopoly in the field of arranging games on machines constitute a company secret (…)” – said Kościński.

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