From the end of World War 2 until 1989, Poland was a communist country under the rule of the Soviet Union. This wasn’t good for Polish Bookmakers!
Since then, the country has shaken off most of its communist past, allowing free speech, free internet use, and more civil liberties, as well as becoming a full EU member in 2004.
However, gambling in Poland is one area where complete freedom is not allowed. Although the gambling law of 2009, and amendments act of 2011, allow sports betting at bookmakers and online, it can only be done via a company licenced and regulated in the country. All gambling is also subject to heavy taxation.
This leaves Poland some way behind other countries in terms of the gambling industry.
Polish Betting Laws
The Gambling act of 2009, followed by an amendment act in 2011, has helped bring Poland more up-to-date with regards gambling. But, the country is under increased pressure from the EU and its own people to allow punters more freedom as to where they place their bets.
At present, although online betting is legal in the country, it is a criminal offence to place a bet with a foreign operator and offenders face prosecution.
This doesn’t deter people though, and companies like bet365 accept bets from Poland-based punters and even offer a Polish language site.
Taxation has a big influence on the gambling industry in Poland, with operators subject to a 12% tax and punters taxed 10% on winnings.
Popular Polish Bookmakers
Due to the restrictions on foreign betting companies, and the heavy taxation, the gambling industry in Poland is monopolised by four companies, all with a physical presence in the country.
Initially, there were three main companies, STS, Millenium, and Totolotek, until Fortuna Entertainment, whose HQ is in the Netherlands, was licenced and regulated in Poland in 2012.
Star-Typ Sport was founded in 1997 and went on to grow following heavy investment from UK company StanleyBet.
This is a hugely popular betting company in Poland, with over 400 physical sites and a fantastic online offering which includes over 1,000 live sporting events streamed per month to registered members.
Having purchased a 50% stake in gaming software specialist company Greep Ltd in 2017, STS are looking to expand by offering punters improved online betting options and e-sports.
Totolotek is the longest running betting company in Poland, having been founded in 1992, and has over 350 betting sites in major cities throughout the country.
Founded in the Czech Republic in 1990, Fortuna Entertainment headquarters is now located in Netherlands and the company has operations in Czech Rep, Slovakia, and Poland.
The company was licenced in Poland in 2012 and soon became the market leader in terms of retail outlets, with expansion to almost 500 betting sites and an extensive online offering.
Fortuna was the first company in Poland to be granted an online gaming licence, in January 2012.
Local Football Competitions in Poland
While Polish punters can bet on competitions from other countries, with online betting available, the restrictions on foreign betting companies mean that competitions in Poland are the most popular.
The main football competitions in Poland are the Ekstraklasa and the Polish Cup.
The top professional football league in Poland, originally known as Liga Polska, was formed in 1926.
The league consists of sixteen teams, who play each other in a round robin format until they have all played thirty matches. The league is then split into two, with the top eight playing in the championship round and the bottom eight battling against relegation. All teams play seven more games.
Gornik Zabrze and Wisla Krakow are the most successful teams in history, with fourteen league titles apiece, whilst current champions Legia Warsaw have won the league title twelve times.
This is a cup competition contested by 68 teams, with participation open to any team registered with the Polish FA regardless of their league status.
Lower league teams enter regional qualifiers, 1 Liga teams join in the first round and Ekstraklasa teams enter in the round of 32.
Each round is contested in single knock-out matches, with the lower ranked team given home advantage. If teams are in the same division, a draw takes place to determine the venue.
The winner of this tournament qualifies for the UEFA Europa League.