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Exclusive Interview with Piotr Dynowski (Partner and Head of IP, Media, Tech & Comms practice at Bird & Bird’s Warsaw Office)

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The Polish gambling industry has been the subject of many major changes, however not all of them are clear for the operators and shareholders.

So, I took advantage of the opportunity to catch up with Piotr Dynowski (Partner and Head of IP, Media, Tech & Comms practice at Bird & Bird’s Warsaw Office), who is going to be among the speakers at Prague Gaming Summit 2018 (more details here...), to gain an inside perspective on the Polish gambling market.

I would also like to thank you for following my interview series and for sharing these information with your colleagues and partners. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming interview, please send me an e-mail to reka.szalo@europeangaming.eu and I will happily get back to you!

I would like to thank you for spending time to answer our questions. First I would kindly ask you to shortly introduce yourself.

Piotr: My name is Piotr Dynowski and I’m a partner and head of IP, Media, Tech & Comms practice at Bird & Bird’s Warsaw office. For over 10 years now, as part of my practice, I have advised clients on all aspects of gaming law, in particular online gambling and betting, social gaming and e-sports. I advise on licensing regimes, regulatory issues, as well as advertising and provision of B2B services to gambling operators.

What is your personal opinion about the European gambling industry and could you make a comparison with the market that you know better and the European situation in terms of gaming and gambling?

Piotr: Unfortunately, Poland is still one of the most restrictive markets in Europe with respect to gambling and doing business by gambling operators in Poland is still pretty difficult, but apparently the changes to the Polish gambling regulations introduced last year were quite beneficial to the licensed betting operators and helped them almost double their turnover in comparison to the previous years. In general running gambling business, even in the EU, is very difficult as legal regulations differ significantly from country to country, some are very restrictive, others pretty liberal, and it is one of probably very few industry sectors left in the EU that are still completely unharmonised and where it seems the fundamental freedoms on which the EU is based do not really apply. Gambling industry has also to struggle all the time with negative perception by many governments and sometimes also negative image in the society. Generally gambling is still often perceived as something a little doggy and causing a lot of harm to the society despite all the efforts of the industry towards fraud protection, fighting gambling addiction and other important initiatives to prove that it is not a different industry than  any other entertainment industries.

In several Eastern European countries there are significant regulatory changes concerning online gambling. What advise would you give for the operators; which are the most attractive markets?

Piotr: Yes, we have seen recently some major changes to the gambling regulations in several Eastern European countries, but unfortunately most of them did not have too much impact on the situation of the private operators. Either they aimed at expanding and strengthening of the state monopoly like in Poland or Hungary or in theory created new opportunities for private operators to apply for new licences, but in practice turned out to be impossible to complete as in the Czech Republic. It seems that only Romania with its relatively liberal regulation in the region sees a major growth of its gambling market. The next big thing in Europe will most probably be Sweden which after years of strict monopoly will open soon to private operators. Taking into account that already a big number of companies in gambling industry are in fact of Nordic origin, the opening of the Swedish market will create enormous opportunities.

I would like to ask you to speak about the recent updates of the Polish gambling market. What can be expected in 2018 in terms of regulations, changes in this particular industry in Poland?

Piotr: Unfortunately, I’m afraid, there no major changes with respect to gambling regulations in Poland that we can expect in 2018. In my view any major future changes will depend on how successful the new online casino operations of the state monopoly will be, but there are delays with the launch of it, so it will take still some time to see how they are doing. If it is successful, the Polish government will have no incentive to liberalise the regulations and to let the private operators compete with the monopoly. But if it is a failure, they may reconsider whether it is not better to allow private operators to operate more freely and generate revenue for the state from the taxes. The only area where there may potentially be some changes in the foreseeable future is lowering slightly the taxes on gambling in Poland as they are currently very steep and one of the reasons many operators do not even try to apply for a licence here. Such change would certainly be welcome by the industry and could generate some more action on the market.

To hear more about the subject and meet Piotr in person, make sure you register and attend Prague Gaming Summit 2018, held on the 29th of March at Andel’s by Vienna House Prague.

Interviewee profile:

Piotr is one of the leading Intellectual Property, patent and IP litigation lawyers in Poland.

Piotr advises on all aspects of gaming law, in particular online gambling and social gaming. His expertise covers licensing regimes, regulatory issues as well as advertising and provision of services such as electronic payments in relation to gambling products.

In 2011, as the Polish expert he participated in the research conducted by Cambridge Health Alliance together with Harvard Medical School and Harvard Law School, investigating associations between European gambling regulations and the actual gambling behavior of players.

In 2011, he represented the two largest European online gambling industry organisations in complaint proceedings against Poland to the European Commission for violation of the EU law by Polish gambling regulations, which resulted in the European Commission launching proceedings concerning violation of the EU law by Poland at the end of 2013 which terminated only in January 2016 after a number changes to the Polish gambling regulations were introduced.

He is a legal expert of the Polish Chamber of Commerce


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Russian Online Casinos Supply the Donbass Separatists

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Pro-Russian separatist groups of the Donbass War (Eastern Ukraine) receive material funds from illegal gambling business, states a recent article published in the Russian Sobesednik magazine. According to article, part of the illegal profits of the online casinos is used to finance the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

As reported by GC Alor analysts, the black turnover of these Russian online casinos is around 200 billion RUR (2,725,065,200.00 Euro). The Majority of these online casinos are registered in foreign administrations, like Azino777 being registered in Curacao.

As experts say, many online casinos are physically based in Ukraine, where the legislation is slightly more loyal than Russian. It is allowed, for example, to develop gaming software for third-party customers. Lucky Labs company, which is linked to the online casino “Vulcan”, operates in Ukraine as software developer.

According to the Security Service of Ukraine, which conducted searches at the office of the company lately, Lacky Labs also controls the websites of CasinoX and Joycasino. The company’s office is big. It is a 4-storey building designed for 150 people. There is also a basement area where there is a kitchen and a dining room, a gym.

Lucky Labs was founded by two Russians. Because of the sanctions imposed by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, now they are not allowed to enter the country. However, Lucky Labs continues to exist. Now the company is registered by an Ukrainian citizen.

If some of the profits of illegal online casino go to pro-Russian patriotic purposes, it becomes clear why Roskomnadzor does not block their Internet addresses. The correspondent of “Sobesednik” managed to access the mentioned online casinos without any obstacles, using no VPN or “mirrors”.

 

Source: sobesednik.ru


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Play’n GO ‘Slots’ Into 1st Place!

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Play'n GO 'Slots' Into 1st Place!Reading Time: 2 minutes

Company celebrates EGR victory with Slot Provider of the Year Award

 

June 22, 2018 – Play’n GO were honoured at the EGR B2B Awards on Wednesday (20thJune) as they took home the highly coveted Slot Provider of the Year Award, beating out some strong competition.

The awards, held in London’s prestigious Hurlingham Club, “celebrates and rewards the very best service suppliers in the online gaming industry” and Play’n GO were honoured to have been nominated in numerous categories including Innovation in Mobile and Best Multi-Channel Supplier.

Play’n GO were recognised for their remarkable offerings in the slot market over the past year including innovative games such as Viking Runecraft, Sweet Alchemy and Moon Princessas well as many other popular titles.

CEO Johan Törnqvist was delighted to pick up the win, and believes it is a reflection of the company’s hard work.

“It’s an honour to pick up such a sought-after award, especially with the level of competition in the category. As a company we work hard to put out the finest, most entertaining, offering to our partners in the market, and winning this award is a testament to that. We have consistently been recognised in the industry for the innovative products we release and it’s our job not to rest on our laurels, but to continue innovating”

 

About Play’n GO

Play’n GO is an award-winning supplier of high quality gaming content to many of the world’s leading casino brands.  Its genuine omni-channel solution can be tailored to suit the needs of individual online and land-based partners, regardless of geographical, regulatory, or market-specific requirements. Its games are developed in HTML5 to provide an enhanced user experience on all devices and operating systems. These are complemented by superior back-office administration tools which provide expansive reporting and marketing capabilities, ensuring operators are equipped to provide the ultimate gaming experience. The supplier’s extensive portfolio was recently recognised by the award of the IGA Slot Provider of the Year 2017 title. Play’n GO currently hold offices in Sweden, Malta, Hungary, and the UK. Please visit http://www.playngo.com for more details.


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Poland: Accepted Changes In Taxes, Including Gambling

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Poland: Accepted Changes In Taxes, Including GamblingReading Time: 1 minute

Poland’s lower house (Sejm) has voted down five Senate amendments to a comprehensive amendment to several tax bills, including gambling.

The adopted amendments may be applied retroactively, which is to the income earned from January 1 2018.
Gamblers will be treated in a uniform manner after the changes.

Adopted by the Sejm on May 10th of this year extensive amendment to the Personal Income Tax Act (PIT), the Corporate Income Tax Act (CIT) and the Act on flat-rate income tax on certain revenues earned by natural persons; that all winnings on machines will be exempt from PIT, the tax relief for creators will be extended to the next creative professions, the real estate income tax will be larger. This applies to provisions adopted last autumn and effective from January 1st 2018.

Unlike the regulations adopted in autumn, the amendment assumes for example, that participants of legal gambling will be treated in a uniform manner. Regardless of whether the games are organized by casino operators or a company performing a state monopoly in this area, which would be Totalizator Sportowy. In line with the provisions changed by the Sejm and approved by the Senate on Thursday, winnings in slot machine games, card games, dice games and cylindrical games – regardless of which legally operating entities organize them – will be exempt from personal income tax.

In the remaining scope, the rules of taxing winnings (in numerical games, cash lotteries, mutual bets, etc.) are to remain unchanged in relation to the provisions currently in force. Pursuant to the amendment of October 27th 2017, winnings in gambling are subject to a l0% PIT tax on winning if their one-time value of winning exceeds PLN 2,280 (528 Euro).


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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