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Is Online Poker Legal in the United Kingdom?
Poker is perfectly legal to play online in the United Kingdom, in fact the UK is one of the world’s most popular poker friendly locations.
How is Poker Taxed in the UK?
There has been a lot of talk of the changes that took place in December 2014 when the 15% Point of Consumption Tax (POC) came into force in the UK – the United Kingdom Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014. Whilst this new tax is strictly for operators it has meant that some gaming companies has decided to block out UK players and withdraw from the market altogether or pass on the tax to players by increasing the rate of rake and reducing the benefits to UK players.
Basically, this tax means that wherever the gambling operator is located, if they cater for UK players, there will be a 15% gaming duty to be paid on profits regardless of the location of the gambling site. Previously many poker sites were located in Malta, Gibraltar, Isle of Man and the Caribbean to avoid tax. This no longer works if they are offering services to UK players.
In addition a UK Poker Licence must be obtained from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to offer and advertise online poker to UK players.
The idea is that this will keep more money in the U.K, so it’s good for the UK economy in the opinion of many citizens but, if not handled carefully, could be bad for the UK gambler.
UK Citizens do not pay personal tax on winnings from online poker or gambling, none at all, nada, so if you live and pay tax in the UK you don’t need to worry about tax at all.
Throughout Europe there have been legal changes resulting in many players, in France and Spain for instance, playing at unlicenced sites. Historically, take Sweden for instance, one of the main reasons that isildur1’s (Viktor Blom) identity was a mystery at the beginning of his huge climb to success, then to failure, then back to success again, was to avoid the insane poker tax laws in Sweden. isildur1 would have been taxed on every dollar won, even if he lost that dollar in the next hand. So, in theory, he could sit down at atable, lose $500,000 and actually end up owing the government there $100,000,000.00.
More information can be found here www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk
Poker Popularity in the UK
Poker is the card game of choice in the UK and has been for a very long time, most especially so since America brought the game Texas Holdem into the mix. There’s only one country in the world that has more poker players than the UK, that’s America., #3 is Germany just in case you were wondering.
Peak Poker Time at UK Poker Sites
Poker tables in the UK are most active from about 7pm to 11pm, an obvious reason for this is because that’s when UK residents have mostly finished work, they’ve eaten and they’re ready to relax.
Most UK poker sites no longer accept United States poker traffic so the hours that those players used to fill the tables are a bit quieter than they once were.
Safety and Security in UK Poker Sites
Playing poker at UK based poker sites is smart, plain and simple. When you’re dealing with a site in the United Kingdom that is licensed you’re dealing with a site that’s regulated. Just like land based casinos these casinos are overseen by a gambling commission. They are required to be fair and uphold the integrity of the game.
In addition to the fact that legally operating casinos and poker sites in the UK are regulated many of them are also publically traded corporations. They are not just required by law to uphold their integrity and act in an honest and responsible manner; they have a responsibility to their stockholders to do business in a manner that is beyond reproach. If they were caught fixing the game they’ll lose all credibility among not only players but shareholders as well.
We saw this happen in live time with the Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet poker scandals in the United States. These sites weren’t regulated so they weren’t shut-down, they weren’t public so they didn’t have share-holders to answer to. Even so, they turned into ghost towns as soon as the story broke. In the UK, they’d have had a very strict legal system to answer to.
Preferred Currencies for UK Poker Players
Almost every online poker site available offers transactions in United States Dollars, even poker sites that do not allow Americans to play at their tables offer transactions in USD. What isn’t the easiest to find are sites that use Euro’s and British Pounds as currency for play.
Face it, as a poker player, you have enough to think about when making bets without having to mentally convert your bets into another countries currency. If a poker site doesn’t offer play in various currrecies, like PokerStars does, they’ll usually accept United Kingdom currency based deposits.
If that’s not the case though, there are several payment processors that will convert your money to United States Dollars and process a deposit to one of the UK poker sites.