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Online Casino News - October, 2009

Poland's PM has an Axe to Grind With Online Casinos


  Seed Newsvine

by Edward Rogers, News Staff Writer

November 10, 2009

As has happened in times past when online gambling has been targeted by government officials with the intent of imposing a ban, Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk's bid to do the same is being tinged by scandal and protectionism. With reform legislation currently under works (to be introduced within the month), PM Tusk has made it clear that he is no friend of online gambling - and basically, any form of gambling that takes place outside of land-based casinos.

Therein lies the sting. It seems that PM Tusk's cabinet has been in cahoots with land-based gambling lobbyists. Actually, it's pretty much a given there has been corruption to this effect. An internal investigation named "Operation Blackjack", has revealed that at least four senior Polish officials, including the Minister of Sport, Miroslaw Drzewiecki, and the Deputy Prime Minister allowed casino gambling lobbyists to exert "inappropriate influence", i.e. kickbacks, in making key political decisions.

Even though the four ousted officials had no choice but to resign, it looks as if PM Tusk is now going to make those decisions on their behalf. In a recent statement, PM Tusk said that he and his colleagues "want to do everything to convince Poles and also our opponents about our impartiality".

Although PM Tusk, himself, has not been found guilty of receiving any kickbacks directly, considering the lobbying history and the fact that he is now seeking to ban all forms of gambling outside of brick 'n mortar casinos, makes it difficult to believe there is no impartiality going on. PM Tusk's defense is that the new legislation will also be calling for increased taxes on said brick 'n mortar casinos - something which analysts say is simply a ploy to help pay for the 2012 European Championship, which Poland is tapped to jointly host.

Why such taxes couldn't be acquired from regulating online casino gambling instead, is a question PM Tusk doesn't have a good answer to. The general sentiment of active Polish citizens who gamble online at online casinos is one of nonchalance. Other governments, including the U.S., have tried to keep people from gambling online by imposing bans. Obviously, such bans have hitherto been ineffective at putting an end to online gambling, whereas in other other parts of the world, online gambling has and continues to be successfully regulated and taxed.



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