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Pokerstars Receives Malta License

by Lorys Charalambous, Tax-News.com, Cyprus

17 February 2012


PokerStars has launched Pokerstars.eu under the group’s new license granted by the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Commission, which the company says will provide players with all the benefits of a European Union (EU)-issued license.

Pokerstars said that the site will initially be available to players in Sweden and Finland, although the company plans to open to certain other European markets in the near future.

“Some markets treat European Union-licensed operators differently than other license-holders," said Guy Templer, PokerStars’ Head of Business Development. "Offering our online poker on www.pokerstars.eu with a Maltese license provides benefits to players in Sweden and Finland in particular and we are always striving to offer the best product possible to our players, wherever they are located.”

Pokerstars says that with its Maltese licence, certain issues regarding the taxation of player winnings will be addressed, since online gaming winnings of residents in both Sweden and Finland are "clearly tax-free" when the game is offered from within European Union (EU) under a license issued by an EU member state.

PokerStars has established an office in Malta which will manage PokerStars.eu. The majority of PokerStars players will continue to play on www.pokerstars.com, a site that continues to operate under the company's global license in the Isle of Man.

Malta became the first EU member state to regulate internet gaming in May 2004 with its Remote Gaming Regulations under the Lotteries and Other Games Act 2001. Since then it has attracted interest from a number of major players in the industry, such as Stanley Leisure, William Hill, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power. By the end of 2009 Malta was home to 330 remote gaming companies.

The amount of tax paid by online gaming companies located in Malta depends on the type of licence they hold: Class 1 licence holders (casino-type games) pay EUR4,660 for the first six months, then EUR7,000 per month thereafter; Class 2 firms involved in fixed odds betting pay a 0.5% tax on the gross amount of bets accepted; Class 3 licence holders, which includes peer-to-peer games, poker networks, betting exchanges and online lotteries, pay a 5% tax on real income; and Class 4 licence holders (intended for software vendors) pay no tax in the first six months of operations, then EUR2,330 per month for the following six months, and EUR4,460 per month thereafter. The maximum amount of tax payable annually in respect of any one licence is EUR466,000. The application and annual licence fees are EUR2,330 and EUR8,500 respectively for all classes of licence.

PokerStars was recently among the first to be awarded a license in Denmark, which introduced regulation this year. PokerStars is also licensed by the governments of France, Italy, Belgium and Estonia.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining the new possibilities that offshore e-commerce open up for business, and analysing the offshore jurisdictions that have led the way in offering professional e-commerce regimes for international business, with a particular focus on e-gaming, is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report6.asp
TAGS: individuals | Isle of Man | tax | Malta | law | international financial centres (IFC) | fees | offshore | gambling | licensing | offshore e-gaming | Finland | Sweden | regulation

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