Speculation earlier this week that the ruling political party in Poland is about to seriously restrict the national gambling industry (see previous InfoPowa report) were confirmed this week when Prime Minister Donald Tusk revealed that drafting of new regulations was already far advanced.
Speaking to the Warsaw Business Journal, Tusk admitted that the recent scandal involving gambling legislation was behind the decision.
Civic Platform suffered a major blow when some of its most prominent members were accused of supporting legislation favourable to the gambling industry in exchange for political favours (see previous InfoPowa reports).
While the opposition voiced support for the changes, representatives of the industry derided the plan, arguing that it would push the gambling business into the black market.
Tusk wants to impose new and more severe and enforced measures against Internet gambling, although it is not yet clear exactly what his intentions are in this regard.
He also intends to gradually phase out approximately 50 000 slot machines by 2015, the Warsaw Business Journal reports. Slot machines in and around shops and gas stations will soon disappear, and there will be heavy new restrictions on gambling machines and businesses. The plans call for the government to simply stop renewing the six-year licenses on the machines, meaning a de facto ban on all such devices by 2015.
Gambling advertising, video lotteries and low-payout slot machines which are not in licensed casinos are all to be banned.
Taxation on machines will be increased, and only people older than 18 years of age will be allowed to play. Taxes on gambling establishments such as casinos will also rise.
Tusk said that his government wants to finish drafting the bill within the next week, and he told the WBJ that he expects the bill to be passed quickly and without amendment.
“It is not increasing revenues from gambling that is the key issue here, but counteracting its negative effects, such as addictions, especially among youngsters, and the mixing of the legal and criminal spheres in this industry,” explained the Prime Minister.
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