German Online Poker Pro Ordered To Pay Tax

Published Sunday, November 04, 2012 -

While playing poker the debate rages on whether it is a game of skill or luck without a definitive conclusion in either camp. It has been the argument that professional poker players have a skill that enables them to earn the money they make at the game. Governments would like to cash in on the funds earned by these pro players by taxing their winnings. Such is the case in Germany where the government has decided to demand that professional poker player Eduard Scharf to pay his fair share of tax on the poker winnings he earned while playing online. Scharf has said that his skill at poker is minimal and that according to him “anybody can win a game of poker.”

The discounting of skill has many business minded poker players on edge as they too may be required to pay the piper for earned funds while playing tournaments and games. Germany’s tax authorities stand to gain a great deal by taxing the professionals, although the earnings of amateurs is still very much in question. It was recently reported in the Local that the Finance Court Cologne did indeed rule that Scharf did use skill to win at poker and the winnings are taxable. What is not known yet is whether or not losses can be deducted from income.

German online gambling laws are under review by the European Commission and Germany has 20 sports betting licenses to be awarded after the December 20th application deadline. The government has 90 applications to date. The German authorities are demanding that those online gambling operators applying for a sports betting license cease to offer casino and poker on their web locations. It is not sure how compliance with this order will affect applicant’s chances of being granted one of the coveted online sports betting agreements. The German online gambling market is a difficult one to be part of considering the restrictive rules in that country.

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