Tuesday, 2 March 2010
As you almost certainly know, the UIGEA is what’s been making online poker quake in its boots at the moment, having done so since 2006.
In 2006, poker’s Tower of Babel came crashing down. The record-breaking World Series of Poker that year saw a $12,000,000 first-place prize, the largest ever awarded in sports history. At the same time online, vast shoals of fish and horizon-spanning herds of donkeys flocked to the tables, treating the $25/$50 No-Limit games like play money in a bid to be the next Chris Moneymaker or Greg Raymer. Giants of the poker world such as Patrik Antonius, Tom Dwan and Brian Townsend built their gargantuan bankrolls on PartyPoker, PokerStars and Full Tilt. Then came what many thought would be the death of online poker. As you know, since 2006 online poker has had a somewhat dubious status in the United States. It’s considered a game of chance on the same level of roulette and craps, thus illegal to gamble online. Well, there are of course arguments for it being considered a skill game, the most prevalent of which being that it is quite clearly a skill game and even the most idiotic monkey could figure out that it is a skill game.That aside, we recently reported that International Olympic Committee has recognised poker as a skill gamethe alongside chess, bridge and Go. This is good, right? It means the US government is more likely to “re-legalise” online poker and we can have millions of Yankee fish back, right?Well, yeah. There is that. That’s good. What do you mean, what am I not saying? Fine… See, the thing is, over here in the good ol’ UK, poker isn’t considered a skill game either. But that’s really, really good for us. It means we don’t pay taxes on our winnings. Because the deck is shuffled before each hand – yes, that is really the rule – it’s treated like a lottery and is tax-free. This IOC decision is actually not good for UK players. I’m basically hoping that Gordon, or more likely David, will have too much on their plate after the next election to be concerned with poker. Remember – it’s a game of skill until the taxman asks.
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