At the European Gaming Congress, experts from different countries of Central Europe have provided valuable gambling news and the overviews of the gambling markets in their regions.
The countries in focus were the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland. All mentioned countries have much in common and, at the same time, differ in some aspects of the gambling industry. Their regulatory frameworks and trends mostly depend on the government, market size, and the culture pattern.
Poland has a huge gambling market
According to Ewa Lejman-Widz, Head of Polish Desk at WH Partners, and Anna Wietrzyńska-Ciołkowska, Legal advisor, Local Partner at DWF Poland, Poland is the country with a sizable gambling market that shows growth trend.
“In Poland, the gambling industry generates huge sums of money and is growing rapidly,” said Ewa Lejman-Widz. “Its revenue may reach 200 billion dollars in 2023”. Currently, the gambling market in Poland is estimated at 1.5 billion euros.
Anna Wietrzyńska-Ciołkowska has touched upon the problem of offshore operators that still constitute a considerable part of the overall market. The main reason for this, in the expert’s opinion, is the inability of the Polish government to control unlicensed operators properly. The war against the black market is represented via the blacklist but it doesn’t work effectively. It includes only domain names and doesn’t have the information about the company-owner. It becomes a loophole for unregulated operators that add some new figures to domains and continue providing services. “The Polish government has admitted in some reports that it doesn’t have tools that allow it to track offshore operators. At the current time, more than 12 000 websites are blocked but it doesn’t work.
Peculiarities of the gambling market in Slovakia and the Czech Republic
Dr. Robert Skalina, Senior Advisor at WH Partners, has provided a detailed overview of the Slovakian gambling industry. He said that Slovakia was opened for the online gambling business last year. However, not many international companies want to enter the market, as the application fee is quite high in comparison to the market size. For example, the cost of the betting license is 5 million euros. That is why only local gambling companies operate in the country.
Jan Rehola, Director at IFGR, has expressed his opinion on the recent implementation of ID verification for players in the Czech Republic. He has said that it is a big obstacle and pain for operators. Mr. Rehola has also concluded that the government will scarcely change something in these regulations. The speaker has shed the light on the current state of the live dealer sector as well. He has confirmed that it isn’t covered by the law but operators have a dialogue with the government about this product, as it is a big part of the gambling market.