Analysts from the consulting company EY estimate that the shadow economy in the online gambling market in Poland generated a turnover of PLN 12.6 billion in 2020. Thus, it constituted 46.7 percent of the entire online market. One of the reasons is the way licensed operators are taxed.
“The EY report leaves no illusions that the restrictive provisions of the Polish gambling act increase the attractiveness of the offer of illegal operators. In particular, this applies to state monopolization in selected segments of the online gambling market. It is worth mentioning that this has a measurable effect in the form of lost revenues to the state budget due to the tax on games,” Katarzyna Mikołajczyk, president of the Play Legally Association, said.
In Poland, some gambling games are completely banned, e.g. online poker tournaments, or are subject to the state monopoly, e.g. an online casino. Enabling consumers to participate in games that are not available in the official market is a huge competitive advantage for operators operating in the shadow economy. A similar tendency is also visible in other EU countries – the greater the barriers to entering the market, the higher the share of illegal operators in the online market.
In addition, there are also high fiscal burdens. In Poland, the average effective tax rate in 2010–2019 was approx. 33 percent of net revenues (defined as the difference between the revenues of operators from the sale of gambling games and the winnings paid out).