STS and Fortuna team up to launch “play legally”


STS and Fortuna, the two largest legal bookmaking companies in Poland, are teaming up in a joint, pioneering campaign against the grey market.

As part of the campaign, they are giving up match branding on the uniforms of the teams they sponsor and the LED screens around the pitches. In their place there will be the slogan “Play Legally”. The campaign will take place between 12 and 15 May. 

The 32nd round of the PKO Bank Polski Ekstraklasa will be special, as the two largest legal bookmakers STS and Fortuna – will run a nationwide campaign under the slogan “Play Legally” during it. These measures aim to draw attention to the deepening problem of the grey market on the bookmaker betting market in Poland. Experts at EY Poland estimate that it amounts to 45 per cent of the entire market. Turnover generated in 2021 in the grey market amounted to PLN 7.6 billion (in 2018 it was just over PLN 4 billion). In this period alone, the revenue lost to the state budget from unpaid betting tax by illegal operators amounted to PLN 379 million.

Mateusz Juroszek, President of STS S.A.: “By organising a joint campaign, we want to once again draw attention to what a huge problem for all bookmaking companies legally operating in Poland is the grey market, which is growing year by year. Of course, we notice and appreciate the government’s actions against companies that operate in Poland without a licence, but we still assess them as definitely insufficient. The legal part of the industry has been calling for years for stronger measures to be introduced against companies operating outside Polish law, including more effective blocking of illegal websites and payments to them.” 

Konrad Komarczuk, President of Fortuna: “While the 2017 amendment to the Gambling Law has clearly improved the situation in the sector, the problem of the grey market has still not been resolved. What is more, the grey market is growing nominally all the time. We believe that a more liberal nature of legal regulations, similar to those in most European Union countries, would result in a dynamic development of the bookmaking market in Poland. This, in turn, would be associated with increased revenues for both legal operators and the state budget or sports entities supported by bookmaking companies with millions of dollars each year under sponsorship agreements.”  

STS and Fortuna give up advertising

The main tool that will be used in the STS and Fortuna campaign between 12 and 15 May is the change of the branding of both brands on the uniforms and LED screens of the Ekstraklasa teams they sponsor to the campaign logo which is the slogan “Play Legally”. The most visible visual changes will concern Lech Poznań, where STS will disappear from the front of the “Kolejorz” leotards, and Legia Warszawa and Miedź Legnica, where the Fortuna logo on the back of the shirts will also be replaced by the slogan “Play Legally”. The remaining teams, i.e. Jagiellonia Białystok, Widzew Łódź, Zagłębie Lubin (STS) and Radomiak (Fortuna), sponsored by the two largest legal bookmaking companies, will cover their sponsors’ logos on their sleeves with special armbands bearing the logo of the campaign. 

In addition, before the start of the matches of the 32nd round, the players of the aforementioned clubs will run out to warm-up in special jerseys to further emphasise the campaign message. The communication on the perimeter LED screens will also change during the matches. All the time reserved for STS and Fortuna will be dedicated to promoting the campaign. The same will be the case for the LED screens during Fortuna 1 Liga matches, where Fortuna is the title sponsor of the games, and during the play-off phase matches of the Polish Volleyball League, of which STS is the sponsor. 

Legal bookmakers call for change

While the share of the grey market in the online casino and betting market has been declining in recent years, the size of the great market has been increasing in nominal terms. This is a very serious problem for all the legal entities operating in Poland. This is because the observed decrease in the share of the grey market in the total value of the market is not due to a decline in the grey market, but to the faster growth of the legal market, which in Poland is developing and very promising. In reality, then, the value of the grey market is growing all the time.

Legal bookmakers are calling for the right measures to be taken to reduce gaming tax. Currently, it is as high as 12% of the revenue generated and is one of the highest in the world. This in turn encourages players to use unlicensed operators. According to STS and Fortune, the aforementioned blocking of illegal websites and payments to them is also a good direction. However, it is crucial that this happens faster than today. Currently, an illegal operator can already be active again the day after its domain is blocked, as, for example, it adds 1 to the domain And so it operates the following weeks or months under the domain After the domain is blocked, it operates under the domain and so on.