The History of Gambling in Poland

Gambling is popular all over the world and has been practiced for centuries. Whether it’s card games, sports betting, bingo, or anything else, most countries have a history of gambling in the world. In Poland, gambling is very popular, although the laws and regulations have changed a lot over the years. 


Since 2004, the country has been a full member of the European Union, and while gambling is popular, there are some heavy restrictions on many types of gambling in Poland. Still, online gambling is available, and Polish players can read a kasyno online opinie to find a suitable site. 


This article was written by Jacek Michałski, our expert on all things related to gambling in Poland, to give you more details about this interesting topic.

The First Casinos

Poland’s first-ever casino opened up back in 1920 in the city of Sopot. This seaside resort city was the perfect place for a casino, attracting lots of tourists from across the country and surrounding areas. Offering games like Roulette and Blackjack, the casino was restricted to adults over the age of 18. 


As tourism increased, the casino was redesigned into a full resort with a hotel for accommodation. This was completed in 1927, as the building reopened as the Casino Hotel. This resort quickly became the main source of income for the city, and its popularity reached its peak in the early 1930s.


Several other casinos were built around Poland during this time, but unfortunately, war broke out not long after. The Second World War obviously had a major impact on the popularity of casinos, with tourism and disposable income being severely reduced. 


Artillery shells from the Red Army destroyed many casinos during the war, but luckily, the Casino Hotel of Sopot survived due to its use as a field hospital. In 1946, after the war was over, it was renamed the Grand Hotel and was later bought by Orbis Casino Group, one of the largest casino operators in Poland.

The USSR and Gambling

1946 marked the end of the Second World War and saw much of the east of Europe annexed by the Soviets. This included Poland, and due to the strict gambling laws of the soviets, this meant most casinos were shut down. The USSR had a blanket ban on all forms of gambling throughout its territory, including casinos and sports betting. 


Despite the ban, the Polish shipping company Polferries found a loophole. The company began offering various types of gambling games, including blackjack, roulette, and even slot machines on their ferries going towards Scandinavia. In doing so, they effectively got around the ban, and these ferries became very popular with tourists as a result. The Soviet ban on gambling lasted until 1989, at which point the USSR was beginning to collapse. 

Polish Gambling After the USSR

In 1998, the Soviets reversed their ban on gambling, effectively allowing casinos to operate throughout the USSR. Not long after the ban was lifted, the first land-based casino in Poland was opened since World War 2. 


Pod Roza in Krakow was launched by Casino Poland and soon marked the start of a new era in Polish gambling. After the ban was lifted, it didn’t take long before lots of new casinos and gambling houses were opening up and getting more Polish people than ever interested in casino games. 


The late 80s and early 90s were the peak time in Poland for gambling as at that moment, there weren’t many regulations on how casinos could operate. In 1992, however, the Polish government started to draft and apply new regulations on the casino industry. 


At the time, the regulations simply stated that a casino must apply for a license and that cities with under 250,000 people could only operate one casino. Since then, the regulations have changed a lot, especially with the introduction of Polish online casinos. 

Online Gambling in Poland

Today, gambling in Poland is regulated by the Ministry of Finance, and this includes any online casino Poland sites. The laws on gambling were recently updated in 2009, making it much more difficult for Polish players to get online and play casino games or bet on sports. Gambling is controlled mostly by the state. 


Although Polish gambling operators can’t launch casino sites in the country, there are still lots of international gambling operators that accept Polish players.


The history of online gambling in Poland is still being written, but it remains to be seen whether the Polish government will look to relax online gambling laws anytime soon. For now, players have to make do with off-shore sites, but there are still plenty of great options available to them. 



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