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Poland to Ban Online Gaming and Increase Gambling Taxes

30th October 2009 9:36 am GMT

Poland looks set to follow the lead of neighbouring Russia and the Ukraine in implementing anti-gambling legislation which would ban all forms of gambling outside of casinos within the country, as well as prohibiting internet gambling and advertising of gambling services and introducing higher gaming taxes.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced plans earlier this week to draft legislation which would phase out slot machines and other low prize betting machines outside of casinos within the next five years.

"Our intention is to create a situation where gambling would be possible only in casinos," said Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Tusk said that gambling would also be made illegal for any persons under the age of eighteen in an effort to reduce the growing number of young people addicted to gambling.

Initially the government will increase taxes on gaming machines from €180 to €480 per machine as it seeks to phase out the machines over the next five years.

"We aim to reduce the market by 20 to 25 percent a year, leading to their eventual abolition," said Tusk.

In addition, the government will propose legislation to ban internet gambling by prohibiting financial transactions to online gaming operators and banning advertising of gambling services.

This could have a significant impact on the finances of leading Polish football clubs Lech Poznan and Wisla Krakow, both of which have signed sponsorship agreements earlier this year with BetClic and bet-at-home respectively.

Supporters of gambling in Poland have expressed their disappointment with the proposed legislation and warned that gambling would be forced to move underground if such drastic steps are taken by the government.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk recently sacked the former head of Poland's Central Anti-Corruption Bureau, Mariusz Kaminski, who had accused several ministers of being involved in lobbying on behalf of gambling companies to block proposed legislation that would have increased gambling taxes.

Poland's sports minister, Miroslaw Dzewiecki, has already resigned amid the allegations.

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