Online gambling group Cherry Online Polska has been granted a sports betting license from Poland’s Ministry of Finance, making it the ninth licensed gambling operator in the country.
Amended gambling laws
In April and July of 2017, Poland’s Gambling Act of 2009 was updated and went into force. The changes were designed to broaden control over the country’s gambling activities, in addition to reducing the gambling industry’s gray market and increasing tax revenue.
Now, as the Swedish-based Cherry AB broadens its reach, it is expanding into the Polish market through its subsidiary, Cherry Online Polska. By doing so, the Stockholm enterprise becomes the ninth gambling operator to secure a license from Poland’s ministry. It is the second company to receive the license under the amended gambling laws, according to Cherry AB.
Patryk Włodarski, the business consultant responsible for the application, said in a press release: “We are proud to be one of the first companies that were granted the license. Poland is a fully regulated market and since [the] 2017 amendment to the gambling bill, it became our priority to obtain a licence allowing us to offer our services online in full respect to the current laws.”
Włodarski added that, with a company in Warsaw holding a license, Cherry is in a position to introduce its first online sportsbook brand to Polish customers soon. With the new gambling laws now in place in Poland, it’s thought that this will present fresh opportunities for international operators who are seeking a regulated environment to set up their activities.
UKGC grants Cherry AB gambling license
Cherry AB has also been obtaining gambling licenses in other jurisdictions.
In 2016, a subsidiary of Cherry AB, PlayCherry LTD, received a casino and sports betting license from the UK’s Gambling Commission (UKGC).
That allowed the gaming operator to roll out its Cherry, Euroslots, and Sunmaker brands for UK customers. It also signaled an important step for the company’s growth, adding on to its Curaçao, Malta, and Schleswig-Holstein licenses.
In addition to expanding into other countries, the Swedish gambling operator revealed last year that it acquired the full shares of Malta-based online gambling operator ComeOn. It had initially acquired 49% in 2016, with the option of purchasing the remaining 51%. The shares cost €280m ($274m; $326m), according to a report from SBC News.
In 2017, Cherry AB’s revenue amounted to around SEK 2,200m (£189m; $251m), with a profit of SEK 400m (£ 34.4m; $45.6m). At the beginning of the year, Anders Holmgren, former CEO of Cherry AB, said in an announcement: “The end of the year developed according to our expectations with all companies showing good growth in sales and earnings. In addition, ComeOn’s new management has implemented measures that, in a very short time, reversed the negative trend we saw in the middle of the year.”
Holmgren is under investigation
In May, it was announced that Holmgren was under investigation by the Swedish Economic Crime Authority (SECA) for allegedly being involved in insider trading.
According to Cherry, the SECA performed a search at the head office as part of the investigation. As a result, the CEO was arrested. During the investigation, Gunnar Lind, chairman of the Cherry Audit Committee, was acting CEO of Cherry. Lind was previously CEO of Cherry between 2006 and 2011.
At the end of May, Holmgren’s role as CEO and President of Cherry was terminated. The group has announced it is undergoing the process of finding a new successor. Lind will remain as the acting CEO until a permanent one has been appointed.
Morten Klein, chairman of the board of Cherry AB, commented: “Anders Holmgren has made valuable contributions as CEO of Cherry, but he is unable to perform his duties while facing accusations of severe insider trading. The board of directors has today decided to terminate his employment as CEO.”