Polish Express

Gambling Advertising in Poland: What the Law Says

Polish law allows for many types of gambling, albeit with quite a few restrictions. Gambling advertising laws are even more restrictive, as the Polish Act on Gambling outright prohibits the advertising of various types of games and bets. If you’re looking for more details regarding gambling advertising in Poland, we’ve prepared a quick breakdown below.

What Types of Gambling Are Allowed in Poland?

Gambling Advertising in Poland: What the Law Says

Photo by Mihaela Holhos on Unsplash

Gambling activities in Poland are regulated by the Act of 19 November 2009 – Gambling Law. According to the Act, there are only four general types of gambling games:

• Betting games – all forms of betting that include cash or in-kind prizes.
• Card games – only card games played for money or in-kind prizes, such as poker, blackjack and baccarat.
• Games of chance – lotteries, roulette (cylindrical games), bingo, dice games, and all “games, including games organised via the internet for cash or in-kind prizes, the result of which depends in particular on chance, and the rules of which are specified in the terms and conditions of a given game.”
• Slot machine games – as per The Act, these include “games played with the use of mechanical, electromechanical or electronic devices, computers included, as well as games that reflect the rules of slot machine games held via the internet network, for cash or in-kind prizes, where the game features an element of chance.”

In other words, most types of gambling are legal in Poland, if somewhat restricted. Sports betting is especially popular in the country, and many sportsbooks are licensed by the Ministry of Finance.

While brick-and-mortar casinos are also quite common, privately operated online casinos are not allowed in the country. Total Casino, which the state-owned Totalizator Sportowy operates, is Poland’s only legal online casino. This is a significant difference compared to the UK and many other European countries, where you can find plenty of licenced online casinos on sites such as casinos.com.

Are There Any Restrictions on Gambling Advertising in Poland?

Even though most types of gambling are legal in Poland, how they can be advertised is pretty restricted. The Act on Gambling strictly prohibits the advertising and promotion of the following:

• Cylindrical games
• Card games
• Dice games
• Slot machine games
• Many mutual wagering (betting) games

There are exceptions to this, specifically when it comes to advertising sports betting (which we’ll cover below), but there are more limitations to mention. The Act on Gambling further prohibits:

• Ads aired on TV, radio, theatres and cinemas between 6:00 and 22:00. The only exceptions are ads during sporting events broadcasts that the advertiser is sponsoring in some way.
• Ads published in youth’s or children’s media.
• Ads on magazine or newspaper covers.
• Ads presented in public places. The exception to this are ads of sports events or other mass events sponsored by the advertiser.

Additionally, the Act on Gambling requires advertisers to always include the following information in their ads: the risks associated with gambling and the consequences of participating in illegal gambling. Advertisers are also required to have a permit for arranging mutual wagering.

That’s quite a lot of rules, and the Act on Gambling in Poland certainly has its fair share of critics. Moreover, many of the rules and definitions are seen as poorly defined and unclear, which leads to much confusion. For example, the definition of slot machine games is often criticised because it seems like it should include video games that feature loot box mechanics. However, the Ministry of Finance doesn’t recognise such games as gambling.

Laws and restrictions on gambling and its promotion are, of course, necessary. As we can see in the UK and many other countries, governmental and independent organisations are always looking for more ways to mitigate the adverse effects of gambling on society. At the same time, however, those laws need to be thoughtful and well-defined.

What Types of Gambling Advertising Are Allowed?

In addition to the few exceptions above relating to the sponsorship of sports and other mass events, there is another type of gambling advertising that’s allowed in Poland. That’s the advertising of mutual wagering or betting games that adhere to the following rules:

• They need to obtain authorisation from the Ministry of Finance.
• The ads should not be addressed to minors, represent minors or be carried out with children’s participation.
• The ads should not combine the participation or arranging of games with intellectual or physical fitness components that lead to an overly easy chance of winning.
• They should not promote the idea that gambling has a relaxing or calming effect on people.
• Gambling ads also shouldn’t present gambling as a way of resolving personal conflicts or financial problems.
• They should not present moderate participation in or refraining from gambling in any negative way.
• The ads shouldn’t insinuate that higher stakes equal a higher chance of winning.
• The ads shouldn’t draw any parallels between gambling and any of the following: sexual attractiveness, rest or relaxation, professional life, or financial excess.

As long as mutual wagering game ads follow the above rules, they are allowed in Poland.

Gambling advertising laws in Poland certainly have a long way to go to catch up to most contemporary legislatures in Europe, the US and certain other countries across the globe. Crafting adequate gambling laws is admittedly a challenging task, but there have been more than a few successful examples of it already. Hopefully, the Polish government will figure this out and not outright ban all gambling advertising, like Belgium did in July 2023.

This content was created in the cooperation with the Polish Express partner


Marek Piotrowski

Zapalony wędkarz, miłośnik dobrych kryminałów i filmów science fiction. Chociaż nikt go o to nie podejrzewa – chodzi na lekcje tanga argentyńskiego. Jeśli zapytacie go o jego trzy największe pasje – odpowie: córka Magda, żona Edyta i… dziennikarstwo śledcze. Marek pochodzi ze Śląska, tam studiował historię. Dla czytelników „Polish Express” śledzi historie Polaków na Wyspach, które nierzadko kończą się w… więzieniu.

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