The database of rulings of Polish administrative courts already includes multiple ones related to entries into the Register of domains used to offer gambling games in contravention of the Polish Gambling Act ("Register").
Pursuant to the Polish Gambling Act, the prerequisites for an internet domain name to be entered in the Register are its use to organise gambling games or to advertise or promote gambling games contrary to the provisions of the Polish Gambling Act (i.e. including in particular games organised without a Polish gambling licence) and its availability to internet users located within the territory of the Republic of Poland.
From 1 June 2021, the circumstances that a given website is in the Polish language or is advertised within the territory of Poland are no longer among the specific prerequisites.
The following factual circumstances can be inferred from the rulings of the administrative courts, the occurrence of which may in practice result in the domain name of the website related to gambling games organised without a Polish gambling licence being entered into the Register (blacklisted):
- the website is in Polish;
- the gambling game regulations on the website are in Polish;
- the site accepts Polish currency;
- the fees, odds, bonuses or winnings are referred to in Polish currency;
- the gambling game regulations do not explicitly mention Poland as a country from whose territory it is prohibited to participate in the gambling game (i.e. the indication of Poland as a limited access territory does not suffice);
- the account registration form allows the user to enter an address located in Poland or a telephone number with the Polish +48 country code (also after selecting the "Other" option from the list);
- the website does not have any mechanisms preventing players located in Poland from creating an account or participating in gambling games by blocking the relevant IP addresses which indicate that the site is being accessed from Poland;
- the domain redirects to another domain used to organise gambling games contrary to the Polish Gambling Act;
- the domain is advertised in Poland; or
- the domain is used for advertising or promotion of gambling games organised without a Polish gambling licence.
If a given domain is entered into the Register, the following entities may object to the Minister responsible for public finances, against the entry in the Register, within two months from the date on which the domain name was entered in the Register:
- an operator organising gambling games on a website using such a domain name;
- a telecommunications undertaking;
- another entity holding legal title to a domain entered in the Register; or
- a payment services provider.
It is important that the interested party has to follow the publicly available Register itself, as it will not be notified of the entry into the Register ex-officio. The Registry can be found at: https://hazard.mf.gov.pl/ and already contains more than 15,800 domains.
Entry in the Register results in an obligation for telecommunications undertakings to block access to such a domain within 48 hours from the moment of entry in the Register and for payment services providers to cease providing payment services on such a website within 30 days from the date of entry.
By Anna Wietrzynska-Ciolkowska, Local Partner, DWF Poland