A spokesman for Full Tilt Poker has recently announced that the online poker room will launch a .EU Full Tilt Poker, licensed by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) of Malta, within a few weeks.
It may be recalled that the beleaguered Full Tilt Poker site was recently acquired as part of a settlement deal signed between PokerStars and the US federal government. As part of the deal, The Rational Group, PokerStars parent company, acquired the Full Tilt Poker brand and assets for $731 million and the US Department of Justice (DoJ) agreed to drop all charges against PokerStars. In early November last year, PokerStars re-launched its one-time rival after getting a license for it in the Isle of Man, where The Rational Group is based.
In Feb 2011, PokerStars launched PokerStars.EU, licensed in Malta, for the benefit of players residing in certain European countries. Similar to PokerStars.com, real money won playing poker games at PokerStars.EU is not taxed. After launching PokerStars.EU, PokerStars shifted customers residing in European countries such as Finland, Sweden, Slovenia, Poland, the Netherlands, Romania, and Germany to PokerStars.EU. When Full Tilt Poker launches FullTiltPoker.EU, it will also move players residing in above-mentioned countries to the new .EU site.
The only difference between the .com site and the .EU site is the licensing jurisdiction. While the .com sites are licensed in the Isle of Man, the .EU sites are licensed in Malta. The new .EU sites will offer the same player experience in terms of player pool, features, and games portfolio.
The income tax laws in the above-mentioned European countries can be interpreted to mean that real money prizes won playing at poker sites based in the European Economic Area (EEA) will not be taxed. The Isle of Man, where PokerStars’ and Full Tilt Poker’s parent company is based, is located in Europe, but does not belong to the EEA.
Recently, Sweden took this interpretation into consideration when its tax authorities cracked down on players who had not paid taxes on their poker winnings. The Swedish Tax Authority also sent letters to online poker players, directing them to furnish accounts of their winnings at poker sites based outside the EEA.
In February, Shyam Marcus, poker room manager for FTP, posted on Two Plus Two Forum that Full Tilt Poker is gearing up to launch a .EU version, adding, “We expect to begin rolling .EU out over the next few weeks.”