Administrative Court dismisses complaints of online gambling operators against official blacklisting


In its recent court rulings, the Administrative Court in Warsaw dismissed complaints from foreign online gambling operators against the decision of the Polish Minister of Finance and Development on placing the gambling operators’ domain names on an official “black list”.

After the recent developments in the Polish Gambling Law that came into force in April and July 2017 the Finance Minister keeps a public register of domains used to offer gambling services to recipients in Poland that do not comply with the Polish gambling law. Internet service providers have 48 hours to block access to such blacklisted gambling sites. Currently, the register contains nearly 2,400 domain names.

From the very beginning these regulations raised controversies among foreign online gambling operators.  Those of them, who challenged the decision of the Minister, argued that they have a licence granted in the country of their residence and that they have suffered damage in connection with the blacklisting. In addition, the complainants questioned the compatibility of the national regulations with European Union law.

In rulings of June 13th, 19th and 21st 2018, the court dismissed the complaints and stated that the Polish state is free to regulate online gambling and that the new regulations were notified to the EU Commission, so there are no grounds to claim the violation of EU legislation. The court confirmed the view that offering such online gambling services to Polish recipients, without a valid Polish licence, violates gambling law.  As such, despite the controversies caused by the new gambling regulations, these rulings sustain the approach of courts and authorities as well as restrictive state policy towards non-licensed gambling operators in Poland.