PokerStars.fr Exits Austrian Online Gambling Market
News of PokerStars.fr’s Austrian exit broke earlier this week, but the decision to leave has been brewing since 2007. That’s when new European Union (EU) standards regarding VATs were introduced, though many weren’t implemented until recently.
Under the new tax scheme, PokerStars.fr would wind up paying an additional 20% VAT on Austrian players, in addition to whatever they’re paying the French government for those same players.
The new double-dipping tax plan was simply more than PokerStars was willing to give (and who can blame them?).
For Austrian players, the exit won’t have a huge impact as liquidity in the French market is pretty tepid anyways. French players, on the other hand, might notice a slightly reduced player pool.
Either way, according to published reports, PokerStars’ former players will still be able to spend accumulated VIP and rewards points accumulated from site play.
On poker forums, posters speculated that the exit had more to do with a recent deal between game platform provider Playtech and several gaming sites owned by the Austrian Government.
That theory has been debunked – the Playtech deal and PokerStars.fr exits occurring at the same time are merely a coincidence. Regardless, the government site in question – Win2Day – is now the only legal choice for Austrian players who want to keep their money at home.
This isn’t the first time in recent months that taxes have had a major impact on an igaming operator. Virtually every UK-based bookmaker has taken a major hit from a new point-of-consumption tax that’s gobbling up revenue.
As European lawmakers continue to seek out new revenue sources, igaming operators should expect to see more VATs.