Could Poker Become Taxable In The UK?

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It seems that it could be a sad day for poker fans as a recent study by academics could encourage the UK government to start taxing poker winnings.

If this goes through, it could mean that the players could take home considerably less from their games when they manage to win large prizes.

What’s Going On?

A study, held in partnership between researchers from the University of Nottingham and a team from VU University in Amsterdam found that since poker requires a specific skill to play and it can’t be regarded as a game of chance. They based their findings on an observation of a database of 456 million different players throughout a years’ worth of poker games.

They ran thousands of simulations with this data and found that players who had a modicum of skill with poker fared slightly better over the space of a couple of hands.

According to the study, a skilled poker player has a 75% success rate over the space of 1,471 hands, which is a pretty high percentage when you think about how difficult the game can be at times.

According to Dr Dennie Van Dolder from Nottingham Universities School of Economics, this increased percentage definitively proved that skilled players would always perform better than less skilled players if enough hands are played. This then proved that poker shouldn’t be considered a game of chance as luck doesn’t play as big a role in it, rather skill and experience does.

So what this reclassification of poker from a game of chance to skill means is that it can technically be taxed since the UK gambling tax only applies to skill based games.

What Are The Implications for Online and Mobile Players?

What this development means for mobile players and those that enjoy online poker games is that should legislation go through to reclassify poker, players will have to start paying tax on their winnings.

So even though you will be able to enjoy the fact that good poker players are classed as having a skill, you will get less of your cash to take home with you when you land a big win.

For example, currently if you were to land a £2,000 pot prize from a game of poker you would get that entire amount. But, if the classification is changed you would get a smaller amount of your winnings back since some of it goes to the taxman.

This can leave a sour taste in a poker player’s mouth, especially if it was a tough game.

What Could This Do To Other Types of Gambling and Games?

If Poker really does get changed from chance to skill, it could mean that the UK government might start looking at other games.

For example, they might decide that various games like slots, scratchcards or even a range of table titles like roulette where everything is down to luck could be classified as skill games. This in turn could mean that these games could also be taxed and an industry that we all know and love could be irreparably changed forever.

Although it’s still a long way off and undoubtedly there will be those who oppose the taxation of poker, it’s still something we should be keeping an eye on. Gambling is supposed to be a medium free of taxation, where we go in with small amounts of money to win big prizes without worrying about having chunks of our reward taken away.

This whole thing really makes you wonder that if the whole gambling industry starts to become taxed, what else will be next?

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