As the Full Tilt Poker community and the US poker industry as a whole await the purchase of the Tapie rejected site by PokerStars, it would seem that yet another spoke may have just been inserted into the wheel of progress for Full Tilt Poker.
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This spoke in the wheel is nothing but the new tax impositions that Spain is putting on its online poker rooms – of which PokerStars is one. These unexpected taxes will require all online poker rooms operating in Spain to pay back taxes. This works up to different sums for the many poker rooms functioning in the country and unfortunately PokerStars seems to have a huge unexpected debt on its hands.
According to Jeremy Taylor, a representative and spokesperson for G-poker, “PokerStars is estimated to owe $257 million in back taxes. That’s a huge sum of money, especially now that PokerStars is allegedly in negotiations with the Department of Justice to acquire Full Tilt Poker and repay former Full Tilt players. The question is, with this unplanned financial burden, can PokerStars proceed with its alleged plans to buy Full Tilt Poker?”
It is quite likely that these taxes will affect popular poker sites like 888 Poker, Party Poker and of course PokerStars. It will remain to be seen if PokerStars will comply with the new tax rules or if it will find a way out. Yet another option in responding to this situation is to withdraw from catering to Spanish customers. PokerStars could also opt to pay the back taxes and drop out from the Full Tilt Poker deal. However, a golden lining would be for PokerStars to not just purchase Full Tilt Poker but to also pay its back taxes and take both in its stride. Spain has required that the poker sites pay back taxes from 2008.
Taylor also compared the taxes owed by PokerStars which was $257 million to what the situation was for Party Poker and 888 Poker. “Party Poker is looking at approximately $77 million in back taxes in Spain, a hefty but also seemingly manageable sum for the world’s largest publicly traded online gaming company. For privately owned online poker sites, this could majorly affect their budgets. However, for public companies like 888 Poker and Party Poker, it’s less of a concern. Regulation should only strengthen investors’ belief in the companies’ ability to operate,” he said.

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