POKER POPULAR IN GERMANY Up to 290 000 poker fans enjoy the game Deutsche Welle reports that the game of poker is enjoying growing popularity in Germany, with between 200 000 and 290 000 Germans regularly playing on the Internet. In 2006, it was estimated that players spent around Euro 1 million gambling online. The publication explains that in Germany, it's only legal to gamble for money in casinos, leaving the booming Internet market in a grey area. If it involves money, online gambling is against the law, but so far no one has been charged with the crime. Game providers' servers are located in Gibraltar, Malta and even the Seychelles, making questions of jurisdiction difficult for prosecutors to address. Germany's tax authorities have a monopoly on the gambling business in the country and pocket more than half of the general gambling industry's earnings as corporate tax. Online gambling, however, remains unregulated and profits circumvent state coffers. The report goes on to comment on the involvement in promoting poker of high profile celebrities such as former world tennis ace Boris Becker and surgeon turned international poker pro Michael Keiner, who first caught the bug 15 years ago whilst at a conference in the US. He was fascinated by the variety of skills needed, the psychological aspects of the game and the mind-boggling sums that changed hands. Gambling addiction is also discussed, with psychologist Tobias Hayer from the University of Bremen opining that online poker has considerably lowered the threshold for compulsive gambling. "There's no social monitoring anymore," Hayer said.