STS Gaming Group has initiated a lawsuit against Kindred Group’s Unibet sportsbook subsidiary, accusing the firm of violating Polish law and targeting consumers in the country.
Recognised as Poland’s largest bookmaker, STS has charged Unibet with illegally conducting business via operational and marketing activities without a nationally approved licence.
Allegations against Unibet include ‘many years of illegal activity’ such as providing games without Ministry of Finance permissions and unauthorised advertising and promotion, as well as marketing on the shirts of overseas football clubs during matches taking place in Poland.
Zdzisław Kostrubała, STS Board Member, said: “While some gambling companies, after the entry into force of the 2017 amendment to the gambling act, withdrew from illegally offering gambling games in the territory of PL companies – Unibet continues to provide services in Poland, clearly violating the provisions of Polish law.”
STS further accuses Unibet of operating a website in the Polish language which has repeatedly changed in domain name to avoid Ministry of Financie blocking, whilst its name has occurred in the register of prohibited domains an alleged 159 times.
Lastly, STS has included a consumer protection element in its lawsuit, claiming that Polish customers are at risk of ‘penal or fiscal liability’ for placing wagers with an unlicensed operator, should they gamble with Unibet.
According to Polish news outlet Privata Affarer, Kindred has stated that ‘the negotiations have not started yet’, adding that the firm ‘does not recognise’ a reported potential fiscal penalty of £5.3m (€6m).
Kindred’s pan-European betting brand could face a maximum penalty of PLN 28.9m (€6m) for violating the Polish Gambling Act if the Polish courts side with STS.
According to STS, an additional charge of PLN 3m (€640,000) for providing gambling games without a licence or submitting required notifications could also be on the table.
Warsaw’s District Court has issued a decision in connection with the lawsuit, STS asserts, prohibiting Uibet from offering betting and advertising its products in Poland. The operator also states that other Polish licence holders are ‘considering joint action against Unibet’.
“We hope that the operator will quickly comply with this provision,” Kostrubała concluded. “We are pleased with the court’s decision, which is a precedent and gives hope for the elimination of unfair competition in the betting market.”