Offshore gaming companies targeted by the UK government

freeinterneWhen national governments are in dire need of money, the first instinct is to increase taxes because this is the safest and fastest source of income. Obviously, this puts an unnecessary burden on their citizens which can eventually translate into poor results in elections. Having said this, the United Kingdom government has found an alternative source of hiking revenues next year as they plan on introducing new taxes for online gaming companies based beyond borders.

At a first glance, this sounds like an unreasonable project, but a second look will reveal the fact that many of the targeted ventures are serving British customers. So far they are paying a puny tax of 1% and the similar one for revenues generated by fixed odds betting, but this is about change. What the government has in mind is to increase that percentage to 15% of the gross profits and if their calculations are correct the national budget should receive an additional £300 million per year.

People who have accounts at the targeted companies are only mildly concerned about the impact of this measure, because it is highly unlikely for their activity to be impacted in any way. On the other hand, the companies themselves are concerned that instead of playing a maximum £425,000 per year, they could be liable to as much as 100 times more. They threatened to follow-up with legal challenges because they find the tax hikes unjustified and excessive, but it is unlikely for them to win in court.

Government officials and the Economic Secretary to the Treasury claim that these measures should have been implemented a long time ago. As far as the state is concerned, these companies should be happy to have gotten away with their legal obligations for so long and have no reason to complain. On the other side of the fence, things look very differently because regardless of the profit they made in 2012 and 2013, offshore gaming companies are terrified by the prospect of tax hikes.

Some saw their profits surging over the last couple of years and this will translate into huge amounts being passed on to the UK government. On the other hand, there are offshore gaming companies who have experienced a dip in profitability and claim that they are barely staying afloat. Assuming they are partially right, this decision could be there devastating blow that will drive them off the market.

Dana Castaneda wins Event 54

It is not surprising that a woman won event 51, because this is a tournament dedicated to ladies, but few expected Kristen Bicknell to emerge victorious. There were plenty of prominent female poker players who bought in for this event and many of them had an impressive track record at the WSOP. The buy-in was set at $10,000, but the higher amount was aimed at warding of undesired entrants such as males willing to in this ladies only tournament.

Due to the fact that last season there was a huge scandal surrounding this event and the organizers had to allow three man players to buy in, the structure was changed. Women enjoyed a discount of 90% while men players had to pay the full buy-in, which explains why this was a ladies only event. Dana Castaneda finished in the 94th place in that tournament and that performance provided them with the impetus to buy-in for this tournament. Her decision proved to be brilliant, because she was one of the 14 players to make it to day three and she outshined her competitors en route to her first World Series of Poker bracelet.

Dana Castaneda

Out of those 14 players who survived the first two days of competition, only 10 lasted the first hour, with Thomas Hall, Orjan Skommo, Molissa Farber and Rupesh Pattni being eliminated. The latter were struggling with short stacks and they had no choice but to go all in with less than premium cards and that cost them dearly. Before the final table was decided, Nicco Maag went all in with A-3 and lost everything to a pair of fours and then Barry Hutter caused the elimination of Kenneth Gregersen.

Contrary to expectations, the final table was played at a frantic pace from the very beginning and Jason Bigelow was the hottest player. In one swing he eliminated Jacob Bazeley and Joseph Wertz when his pocket aces held all the way to the river. This made him the chip leader and he crawled back into his shell leaving the other players to fight it off when six of them were left in the race. Barry Hutter lost pot after pot to several players including Dana Castaneda who got a significant chunk of his stack and then sent him home for good.

The difference between the final four players was relatively low and that’s why all of them chose to tread lightly not to jeopardize their chances of winning the tournament. Michael Zucchet and Matthias Bednarek tested their luck and attempted to bluff their opponents but both of them fell short and were eliminated in fourth and third. Jason Bigelow took full advantage of the couple of hands won early in the day but he couldn’t fend off Dana Castaneda in the heads up and she sent him to the rail. After winning this bracelet, Dana told the media that she intends to use a small portion of her recently won prize to buy it for the Event 62: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event.