An unidentified Italian poker player who has won more than €6 million since 2007 has been forced to pay €1.2 million in back taxes. The reason: the winnings came from an unlicensed operator in the United Kingdom. The player, living near Milan, is the first high profile case since Italian authorities passed a law taxing winnings from unlicensed operators at 20% earlier this year.
According to reports, the Finance Ministry’s law enforcement agency, Guardia di Finanza, seized assets belonging to the unnamed player, including a house and two cars, on November 19. Payment of the €1.2 million is pending. Further, the player may face additional fines and penalties related to tax evasion and illegal gambling.
Authorities were alerted after the player transferred a large portion of his/her winnings from a bank account in Italy to one located offshore. Italian regulatory body AAMS, which began introducing licences for cash poker and casino games in July, announced plans to crack down on unlicensed offshore operators this autumn. Under new rules, financial institutions are now required to disclose transactions involving blacklisted offshore sites.
Most recently, Italy announced higher duties on gaming machines and a new tax on winnings in its Gazzetta Ufficiale on November 14. However, despite the jittery share prices of Italian operators in the weeks preceding the announcement, online games will not be affected by the new tax changes.
“It is important to mention that online games do not fall under the scope of that decree and thus the winnings from online gambling won’t be taxed,” AAMS press officer Michele Giannarelli told PokerUpdate.