Poland blacklist continues to hurt Bet-at-Home
Bet-at-Home saw its share price fall by around 10% today after it blamed the gambling crackdown in Poland for a double-digit decline in revenue.
The Frankfurt-listed operator – which has been black-listed in Poland for just over a year – said its gross betting and gaming revenue for the six months to June 30 was €66.6m, down around 13% on the same period in 2017. In its H1 statement it said group betting and gaming volume was down around 10% year-on-year to €1.5bn. EBITDA of €11.0m was down on last year’s €17.4m, in part due to high marketing costs during the FIFA World Cup.
Dusseldorf-based Bet-at-Home said the main reason for the decline in gross betting and gaming revenue was the blocking measures that have excluded foreign betting and gaming operators in Poland since July 2017. These “are considered as a violation of European legislation”, according to Bet-at-Home.
The company was one of the first companies to be black-listed in Poland at the start of July 2017, three months after legislation was introduced that allowed unlicensed companies to be blocked from offering gambling services to Polish citizens.
The legislation introduced a licensing structure and a huge 12% turnover tax on those operating in Poland. At the time, the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) said the “fiscal framework is not workable. Until it is changed, few operators will take up licences in Poland”.
Earlier this month, a Warsaw court ruled against four overseas companies that challenged the legality of Poland’s blacklist, which now contains more than 2,000 domain names. The Regional Administrative Court in Warsaw found that the Ministry of Finance – which operates the licensing scheme – had the right to block the ISPs of firms offering gambling services without the necessary permits.
Cherry recently became the ninth licensed operator in the Polish market, and the second company to receive a licence under the new gambling regulations which came into force last April.
Image: Katarzyna Czerwińska