Polish Gambling Information
Gambling is legal in Poland. Betting restriction began to lift in the final years of the Communist Era, but the Polish gaming industry did not become a major presence until the 1990s. The 1992 Gambling Law is the most important piece of betting legislation in the post-Communist era. This law regulates most major forms of gambling in Poland.
Below is a brief history of Poland and Polish gambling laws, as well as a list of casinos and lotteries in present-day Poland.
Poland has a long and often tragic history. Local gambling laws were subject to the whims of Russian and Prussian authorities over recent centuries, though this was not always the case. Poland was considered a major European power as late as the 17th century, enough so that the Polish king influenced the succession of the tsars in one period. The expansion of Tsarist Russia westward began to encroach on the Polish state, which was weakened by internal power struggles among nobles and a weak central government.
Eventually, three imperial powers in Eastern Europe--Russia, Prussia and Austria--partitioned Poland between them. From the 1790's until the end of World War I, there was no Polish state. In fact, a century-long alliance between Germany (formerly Prussia) and Russia was cemented by their common hostility to Polish independence.
The Poles gained the independence in the interwar years. With the Turkish Empire ousted from the Balkans, the Germans and Russians fell out over who would fill the void. This led to a war where the Germans defeated Tsarist Russia, but were in turn defeated by the Western Allies.
The fact that their enemies on both sides of the conflict technically lost the war allowed them to create their own state based (nominally) on Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points. When the Red Army invaded Poland in 1920 and was thrown back, Poland became a bastion of anti-Communism in the interwar period. This new state would be short-lived.
Common hostility to the Poles brought Germany and Russia into alliance again in 1939, when Hitler and Stalin signed their infamous Non-Aggression Pact. England and France honored promises to declare war against Hitler over Poland, though the war would end with the same allies (and the Americans) ceding Soviet Russia full influence over Poland.
With the Red Army occupying the country, Stalin would turn Poland into a Soviet satellite for the next 45 years. Communist officials were installed and legalized gambling was prohibited during the communist years.
The Republic of Poland
Major strikes throughout Poland in the Spring and Summer of 1988 began a political crisis between the communist ruling party and the pro-democracy Solidarity. The communists began talks with Solidarity leader Lech Welesa in August 1988, which ended with an agreement to hold elections in 1989.
These elections did not go well for the Communists. Two attempts to form governments failed on the part of the communists, making way for the assumption of power by the Solidarity Party. Later in the year, the Polish people renamed their country the Republic of Poland.
These days, the Solidarity Party has split into several political parties of varying influence. The Polish leaders have led the country through a turbulent transition to a free market economy, along with the inclusion of Poland in NATO in 1999 and in the European Union in 2004.
Games of Chance and Mutual Betting in Poland
The new Polish Republic wrote their own gambling laws. In 1992, Poland passed a laws concerning "games of chance, mutual betting and automatic games". Theere are dozens of games covered in the law.
These games include lotteries, dice games, card games like blackjack, poker and baccarat, bingo games and mutuel betting. Mutual betting is defined as sports competitions involving people or animals and on which two or more people wager stakes.
Casinos in Poland
Even before the fall of the Soviet Union, casinos were beginning to appear in Poland. THe first legal gambling halls were built in Poland in the late eighties, though this development greatly increased in the early years of the 1990's, in the first few years of the post-communist era.
The 1992 Gambling Law restricted casino operations in the new Poland, with a mind towards fairness and the avoidance of foreign exploitation. Foreign investors could not own shares, while cities were allowed only a certain number of casinos. The tax was raised on these houses of gambling, meaning that fewer casinos and bingo halls were opened. Some gambling halls even closed in these years.
Still, casino gambling has caught on big in Poland and the country has one of the largest casino industries in Eastern Europe. Many of these casinos are found around the city of Warsaw or in cities along the Baltic Coast, which were resort towns during the Cold War and have developed even moreso in the years of the Republic of Poland.
Here's a list of all the current casinos in Poland, as well as the particular city in which they are found.
Poland Casino List
Cristal Hotel - Bialystok
Lotteries in Poland
Poland has several major lotteries which are also regulated by the 1992 law. Here are the three largest lottery games found in Poland.
Bingo in Poland
Poland has its share of bingo halls, too. Bingo is regulated in much the same way it is maintained throughout the rest of the European Union.
Pari-Mutuel in Poland
The Poles enjoy pari-mutuel betting, though the industry is still in its infancy in modern Poland. Plans are in order for more racetracks as of this writing.
Poland Sports Betting
Sports betting centers on traditionally popular games like soccer, while the sports books also take bets on basketball and hockey.
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