by Renee Israel
As significant changes come about in Poland's online gambling industry, at least two UK gambling operators have informed their clients that they are about to leave the Polish market from the beginning of April.
Both William Hill and Bet365 informed their customers and affiliates in Poland that they are withdrawing their services from this market, effective immediately.
The announcement was made via email by both companies.
Poland's brutal new online gambling regime, including tough taxes aimed at reducing the unregulated market, has sparked a mass exodus of operators, including other big names such as Betfair and Mr Green Casino.
Players Urged to Withdraw Funds
William Hill contacted its players and affiliates in Poland by email, telling them that services would not be available in this country starting April 1st, 2017 - the date that the new gambling laws in Poland kick in.
William Hill had a challenging year in 2016, as seen in its yearly financial results, showing a 3% drop in revenue year on year.
All registered players on William Hill's Polish platform were told in the email to withdraw their existing balance from their accounts prior to month's end. If this is not done, their accounts will be suspended and they will have to withdraw funds via customer support, which could take longer.
WillHill affiliates were also told to pull all advertising materials such as banners.
The group said that it hoped to return to the Polish market when favorable changes are made to the regulations.
Bet365's email to players and affiliates read similar to William Hill's.
New Gambling Act in Poland
Approved in December 2016, Poland's amendments to its Gambling Act are aimed to tackle the unregulated market and force online operators to apply for a Polish gambling license.
The state imposed a 12% taxation on operator revenue, causing a stamped out of the market by UK and other gambling operators.
The Remote Gambling Association warned that the new taxation will achieve the exact opposite of what it has set out to do.
"The existing 12 percent turnover tax on sports betting has so far failed to build an attractive regime and it is bound to continue to do so, if not changed," said the body.
"The current turnover system will continue to prevent licensed operators from
providing the required level of value and choice to Polish consumers."