Italian Poker Players Facing Heavy Tax Bills

Italy’s high stakes poker pros are currently facing potentially hefty tax bills from their domestic Revenue Agency after an investigation was launched into the income they earned from associations with various online poker rooms.
Earlier this year, professional internet pros sponsored by Italian and international poker rooms received requests for a whole list of financial details, including their winnings, sponsorship and royalty income,
and foreign assets stored abroad.
Currently, these players face taxes on their winnings from sites not part of the regulated Italian online gambling market, as well as on their ‘financial assets’ held internationally.
However, the latest investigation has widened to include Italian residents regularly playing on offshore live media, with initial results revealing over 4,000 players made almost $100 million, without declaring the income on their tax returns.
Online gaming in Italy has been expanding steadily over the last few years and the country now boasts Europe’s biggest online gambling market. It has risen from €3.4 billion in 2009 to €4.8 billion in 2010. Furthermore, the market is set to triple in size with the recent introduction of cash game poker and casino style online games and slots to the country.
Italy’s licensed online poker websites are currently charged a 20% tax rate on their gross revenue, adding significantly to the country’s coffers. The latest move targeting the players by the Italian government is now seen as a way of ensuring that both the players, as well as the site owners, are contributing equally.

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