Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Poles spend more on gambling than alcohol

Poles prefer gambling to having a drink, spending 17 billion zloty (4 billion euro) annually in slot machines, casinos, bookmakers and lotteries.

This is more than Poles spent on medicines and strong alcohol.

The gambling market grew by 40 percent last year, and one-armed bandits were the most popular for having a flutter among Polish gamblers. In 2008, Poles put 8.5 billion zloty into slot machines, a rise of 70 percent from the previous year.

However, in the spring, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBA) confiscated several hundred slot machines, as many did not comply with basic requirements, such as the possibility to win only small amounts of money.

According to Poland’s Gambling Act, a stake in these machines can amount to no more than 0.07 euros with a possible highest win of 15 euros. However, many owners of the machines do not abide by the regulations and allow customers to play for much higher stakes, and consequently win significantly more money.