Zakopane, the largest of Polish ski resorts, has been fined heavily by the Polish Customs Chamber for advertising Bet-at-home, a French online sportsbook. The logo and name of Bet-at-home was prominently visible during the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, held on Jan 22 – 23 in Zakopane. The name and logo of this online betting site could be seen not only on the uniforms of the participants, but also on banners that were placed in the vicinity of Wielka Krokiew, a venue for ski jumping.
According to new Polish online gaming laws implemented on Jan 1, 2010, advertising online gaming sites is illegal. The Customs Chamber is, therefore, imposing a fine of €300,000 on the ski resort.
Lech Nadarkiewicz, the organizer of the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, claimed that the company will incur huge losses if it paid the fine. The Tatra Skiing Association claims that the company signed the advertising deal with Bet-at-home before the implementation of the new laws. Bet-at-Home claims that the new gaming laws violate free trade standards in the European Union.
The matter is likely to be taken to the court of the European Commission, and there is a strong possibility that Poland will be fined for implementing laws restricting online gaming.
Online gambling is an unregulated activity in Poland and the government is not providing licenses to any online gaming enterprise to operate in Poland. Even offshore Internet gaming sites are banned in Poland. However, owing to the Polish fondness for online gaming, this ban is not enforced strictly.