UK Poker Hit by the Budget
There is a lot of confusion about the new poker taxation that has been brought in by Alastair Darling's new budget, which at first glance would appear to be a 50% tax on all poker revenue, from a previous 15%. Rank Group, the people behind the Grosvenor Chain of Casinos, has written to the government warning that such a big levy could force the game underground and many card rooms would be forced to close. Rank host poker in two thirds of their 33 card rooms and estimate 250,000 players play live in their casinos.
This is obviously a major concern and a lot of the UK poker forums are worried this could be the end of live poker in the UK. After closer inspection, the new regulations are not quite as grave for the UK poker industry, but it is still very bad news for it. The 50% tax is on any Gross Gaming Yield over £10 million, so anything below it will be taxed between 15 and 40%, with any card rooms under £1,929,000 only charged the original 15%. There will now also be no VAT charged on participation fees, which is a silver lining.
So on the face of it; this doesn't look quite so harsh for some standalone venues such as Dusk Till Dawn, although they still may be charged more than they were. It is, however, still pretty grim news for chains like Grosvenor whom one would expect to have a large Gross Gaming Yield; such is the scale of their operation. It could also be very bad news for the UK's flagship poker tour, the GUKPT and the added value promotions that make it such a success.
There is still a lot of doubt and confusion to as how this will be handled by card rooms across the UK. They may have to increase the amount of rake paid to play poker, or perhaps charge more for other things such as entrance into the venue or at the bar. There are still plenty of unregulated poker venues across the UK who might conveniently be able to avoid this levy altogether, which is may sway more unregulated poker clubs to open. Hopefully it won't come to that and the government will think twice or at least clarify exactly what is expected of the poker rooms.
EPT Monte Carlo UK Update
The Pokerstars.net EPT Monte Carlo is underway and with day 1a in the bag, not many UK players remain in the field. There is however a ray of hope in the form of online qualifier Stephen Haughey of the UK who is in 10th place and Patryk Robert Slusarek, Gregory Smith and Jason Barton who all go into day 2 with healthy stacks flying the flag for the Brits.
The top ten chip stacks look like this:
• Lee Nelson - 253,600
• Luca Pagano - 169,600
• Anthony Donald Venturini - 160,000
• Thiago Nishijima - 159,000
• Faraz Jaka - 155,900
• Michael Tureniec - 146,600
• Diaz Gilbar - 141,900
• Sami Kelopuro - 133,500
• Andrey Zaichenko - 131,300
• Stephen Haughey - 124,400
Hopefully we will see more of the UK contingent today in day 1b and you can find out yourself how their fare using our exclusive Live Updates where Jen Mason and Dana Immanuel will be bringing your play by play analysis.
European Shorthanded Poker Championships Satelittes on iPoker
Starting last night, $109 freeze out feeders to one of the best looking festivals of the year began. The European Shorthanded Poker Championships take place in Dublin on the 4th to 7th of June and all the events, including the €1000+€100 main event are 6 handed. There is also a €500+€50 PLO event and a €500+€50 no limit side event, all with the generous deep structure you would expect from the Green Joker Poker crew that have organised it.
The next satellite is May 5th at 8.05pm and for $109 you can win a $2,500 package that includes entry and travel money. You can play the next one at great skins such as