SBC News CE Spotlight: Poland market gains prevalence over Hungary and Slovenia reforms

CE Spotlight: Poland market gains prevalence over Hungary and Slovenia reforms

Hipther’s Gaming & Tech Conference in Prague shedded some light on the gambling developments around Central Europe, as experts determine a somewhat static picture across key markets. 

SBC News CE Spotlight: Poland market gains prevalence over Hungary and Slovenia reforms
Dan Iliovici/Credit: Hipther

One of the panels saw moderator Dan Iliovici, who is the VP of Rombet, handing over the mic to Gábor Helembai, Legal Counsel at TaylorWessing, to shed insights and opinion on the most recent developments in Hungary.

Helembai kicked off the discussion by reminding the audience that the Hungarian market saw its regulations change at the start of January 2023, separating igaming and online betting into two individual segments.

Additionally, the Hungarian government also liberalised sports betting under some “international pressure” as Helembai put it, meaning that a business in the field can open shop there without having to acquire a concession, but only a licence from the state regulator. 

Some eyebrows were raised however, as Helembai highlighted that no new licences have been granted to any international operators over the past one and a half years. There has also been  no official information whether companies are constantly being turned away or whether there is any interest in the market at all.

SBC News CE Spotlight: Poland market gains prevalence over Hungary and Slovenia reforms
Gábor Helembai/Credit: Hipther

As it stands, there are currently two licensed online casinos and two licensed sports betting operators servicing customers in Hungary. 

There also appears to be no excitement in Slovenia, where online gambling is pretty much dead and the only somewhat successful vertical remains traditional land-based, which is starting to show its age. 

Slovenian Jasmina Poglavc, Senior Product Manager at Gamanza Group AG, told the story of how Entain Plc and Superbet once tried to diversify the sports betting scene in her country, but failed to challenge the state-owned monopoly Športna Loterija

SBC News CE Spotlight: Poland market gains prevalence over Hungary and Slovenia reforms
Jasmina Poglavc/Credit: Hipther

Despite this, there is some light at the end of the tunnel, with an upcoming review of the country’s branding, concession and responsible gambling regulations, having the potential to boost the competitiveness and sustainability of the region. 

Poland for now seems to be the only country in Central Europe where gambling is progressing in some shape or form, with the newly-elected government having a lot to do, despite not placing gambling on top of its agenda at a first glance. 

Anna Wietrzyńska-Ciołkowska, Head of Games and Gambling at legal advisory DWF Poland, shared that the biggest regulatory change in Poland over the last year was the approach to video game loot boxes, which are now seen as promotional lotteries by the country’s regulator.

SBC News CE Spotlight: Poland market gains prevalence over Hungary and Slovenia reforms
Anna Wietrzyńska-Ciołkowska/Credit: Hipther

It is also the most international market out of the three, with Piotr Dynowski, Attorney at Law at Bird & Bird Poland, reminding that global operators like Betclic, Betway, Entain and Superbet are all currently flourishing on the Polish market. 

This by itself guarantees a constant development of the gambling scene in Poland thanks to the significant money streams that such operators bring into the market, although such resource power could spell trouble in the long-run for smaller Polish operators, Dynowski added.

SBC News CE Spotlight: Poland market gains prevalence over Hungary and Slovenia reforms
Piotr Dynowski/Credit: Hipther

 

The last interesting take away from the panel was that live dealer studio games are gaining notable traction among users in Poland. However, the vertical doesn’t fall under any active regulations which could mean that further changes are on the horizon.

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