Poland is ready to ban online poker, calling it an addictive form of random gambling. The ban could however face controversy as it is likely to be against current EU legislation on the area.
Poland is on the verge of banning online poker
after President Bronislaw Komorowski signed an amendment to an upcoming law, which will effectively outlaw the game, CardPlayer Magazine
The new law has been approved by Polish legislators, but has already caused some controversy due to its nature and rigid focus on online poker as a game of chance.
The bill will allow some forms of so-called acceptable gambling such as horse racing and sports betting, as the outcome of these are based on real events and not determined by a system provider.
Online poker, in turn, does not fill the requirements for this type of gambling and will therefore not be made legal, politicians say.
"Poker is a gambling game, based on a random element. Worse, it's a game leading to addiction," Jacek Kapica, undersecretary to the Ministry of Finance said.
However, due to its controversial wording and content, the new law is very likely to meet fierce opposition from both players and other EU member nations who believe the law to be in contravention of EU rules
The concerns were already voiced last year, when reports of a upcoming ban on Polish online poker first emerged.
One of the most outspoken critics of the plans back then was The European Gaming and Betting Association, which called the ban on online poker "unjustified" and "highly doubtful under EU law".
"We support the Polish government’s intention to join the growing number of countries regulating the online gaming and betting market in the EU. However, the current draft foresees a wide range of obstacles and obligations which will make it highly difficult for EU licensed and regulated operators to apply for a license in Poland. We urge Poland to revise its draft and align it with the requirements of the EU Treaty," Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of the EGBA said in July last year when asked about the upcoming plans to ban Polish online poker.
Polish legislators, however, seem to have ignored the advise and criticisms brought forward by the EGBA and others, and the law will now according to plans come into effect already this summer.