Polish cross-party committee calls for rethink of sports betting taxes 

Pressure is mounting on Poland’s Ministry of Finance to undertake a review of its gambling tax structure, revitalising income generated from licensed bookmakers.    

A cross-party Sejm (lower parliament) committee representing ‘Polish consumers and entrepreneurship’, had announced that it has submitted a proposal advising the Ministry “to abandon the 12% turnover tax applied to sports betting.”

The Committee has advised the Ministry to adopt a GGR tax rate, favoured by other EU member states to tax gambling services.

From 2011-to-2016 Poland operated a liberalised online gambling marketplace. However, the sector would be radically overhauled by the PiS (Law-&-Justice) Government of Andrzej Duda.

Closing 2016, PiS sanctioned the Treasury to undertake a major reform of Poland’s gambling codes, drastically changing the market’s makeup in 2017.

This included enforcing a 12% turnover tax on all gambling verticals, and further limiting the online casino games domain of the state monopoly Totalizator Sportowy.

Further market changes required all licensed operators to have a business presence in Poland and for their player databases to be registered with the Ministry of Finance.

PiS market overhaul saw a raft of international operators such as William Hill, bet365, Olympic Entertainment Group and Bwin exit the market.

Urging the Ministry to rethink its tax policies, the Sejm Committee has recommended previous proposals by Polish sportsbook trade association PIGBRiB, that advised the government to introduce a flat 22% GGR tax on sportsbook activities.

The cross-party group stated that as one of six European nations that taxes betting based on turnover, Poland lagged behind EU members in tax income generated.

Independent calculations by the European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) outlined that Poland’s 12% turnover tax equated to a 55-to-65% GGR tax rate – ‘one of the highest online sports betting taxes in the EU’.

The Committee further questioned whether the government could effectively calculate Poland’s sportsbook marketplace, given that Treasury data reflected taxed income of operators rather than gross proceeds.

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