Tomasz Makaruk

Regulations of responsible gaming

In connection with the amendment to the Act of November 19, 2009 on gambling – hereinafter the act (a full analysis of the main changes in the lottery organization rules from April 1, 2017 is discussed at this link

http://www.marketingbusinessblog.pl/glowne-zmiany-w-zasadach-organizacji-loterii-od-1-kwietnia-2017/), which was introduced on April 1, 2017 pursuant to art. 15i par. 1 the requirement to implement by an entity operating in the field of gambling organized via the internet rules of responsible gaming, we have asked the Minister of Development and Finance (Department of Sector Taxes, Local Taxes and Taxes on games) with the application for approval of the draft of such regulations.

We have made these steps with far-reaching caution, regardless of the circumstances, that the newly enacted legislation is far from legislative precision and doesn’t include definitions in which cases the game should be considered by its organizer as “organized via the internet”. In light of this fact, there was a doubt whether promotional lotteries organized by i360 meet the criterion of “gambling organized via the internet”. Internet usage in games organized by i360 Sp. z.o.o. is primarily about :

  • publishing data about the game (including regulations) on the website,
  • registration of the purchase made, entitling to participate in the promotional lottery, via the   website, usually consisting in providing the participant’s personal data in the application form and sending a scan of the purchase proof,
  • communication with a lottery participant, first of all to inform him about effective announcement of participation in the game and to obtain an award (usually by SMS or e-mail),
  • alternatively you can also rely on running an online lottery participant account and saving points on this account (later entitling the participant to exchange them for material of cash awards), if the award in the promotional lottery is such points.

At the same time we have asked for access to the criteria by which verification should be carried out, whether a given gambling game is organized via the internet within the meaning of the aforementioned provision. The lack of a legal definition of this concept as well as the deficit of the official explanations of the Ministry of Finance in this respect cause, that entities conducting economic activity in this industry are in a state of considerably uncertainty regarding their obligations.

The Ministry has pushed forward the time limit to settle the matter five times, each time issuing a decision on setting a new date. Finally in December 2017 (ie after eight months of the date of submitting the application), the Minister of Development and Finance issued a decision refusing to approve the regulations of responsible gaming organized via the internet. The letter refers to the fact that the relevant Director of the Tax Administration Chamber, which issued a permit to organize a promotional lottery organized by the applicant, didn’t give permission to organize a promotional lottery via the internet (the issued permission concerns the organization of a promotional lottery). The conclusion of that “(…) in the evaluation of the Minister of Development and Finance there is no basis for approval of the regulations of responsible gaming organized via the internet, as presented by the Company, in a situation, where the Company doesn’t have the permission to organize a promotional lottery via the internet”.

An application for access to the criteria by which verification is made, whether a given gambling game is organized via the internet has remained unanswered. It was pointed out that in case of doubt whether a given project meets the characteristics of a gambling game, including a gambling game organized via the internet, one can apply to the Minister of Development and Finance (after paying the appropriate fee) for a decision pursuant to art. 2 par. 6 and 7 of the act.

A word of comment. the Minister of Development and Finance introduced a kind of automatism, under which the lack of permission to organize a promotional lottery via the internet means no need to approve the regulations of responsible gaming. This means that the relevant Director of the Tax Administration Chamber issues a permission to organize a promotional lottery (and not a promotional lottery via the internet) regardless of the scope of the internet use in a given promotion, there will be no need to draft and approve the regulations of responsible gaming. It’s just that … the act does not provide for a mode under which one can apply for a permit to organize a promotional lottery via the internet (note that art. 39 of the act refers to “Application for a permission to organize a promotional lottery). The consequences are far-reaching, as they significantly simplify the obligations imposed on the organizers of promotional lotteries resulting from the provisions of art. 15 a-i of the act.

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