- PokerStars-sponsored Campeonato España de Poker tour sees record attendance despite recent tax changes in Spain.
- The opening event of the tour drew 822 entries, nearly double compared to the previous year.
- The Mini Main Event also experienced a surge in participation by over 30% from the previous year.
- Spain’s tax legislation now classifies poker players as athletes, subjecting them to taxation on their winnings.
- PokerStars and Casino Barcelona clarified that no deductions will be made from tournament winnings, but players should consult their local tax authorities regarding tax obligations.
- Despite tax concerns, there is optimism for a strong turnout at the upcoming European Poker Tour Barcelona series, given the recent record attendance at other events.
The PokerStars-sponsored Campeonato España de Poker (CEP) tour, which kicked off on August 11 at Casino Barcelona, is witnessing an all-time high attendance.
This should encourage PokerStars as the upcoming EPT Barcelona festival faces an uncertain landscape due to recent tax changes in Spain, which have left both professionals and recreational players apprehensive about the financial implications of their winnings.
But despite the tax concerns that have cast a shadow over the poker landscape in the country, the CEP draws record turnouts. The opening event of the CEP with an entry fee of €330 drew a staggering 822 entries, surpassing all previous participation records. For comparison, last year’s edition of the same event attracted 435 entrants, marking an impressive near-doubling of attendance.
The Mini Main Event, with a buy-in of €200, also celebrated a milestone with its largest-ever player field, drawing in 786 entries. In contrast, the 2022 edition of the same event saw 601 participants, reflecting a significant surge in participation of over 30%.
The CEP is the country’s longest-running live poker tour. This year, the CEP joined hands with the ESPT, another popular Spanish tour backed by PokerStars, catering to low- and mid-stakes players. This collaboration has led to a joint hosting of events.
Notably, the CEP tournaments take place before the ESPT events, which serve as a prelude to the highly anticipated main EPT Barcelona series, set to commence later this month.
The heart of the issue lies in Spain’s recent tax legislation, which reclassifies poker players as athletes for tax purposes. But as the anticipation builds for PokerStars LIVE’s upcoming European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona series, poker enthusiasts and professionals alike are closely watching how recent tax concerns in Spain might impact the poker landscape.
The heart of the issue lies in Spain’s recent tax legislation, which reclassifies poker players as athletes for tax purposes. Under this new classification, poker players, regardless of whether they play professionally or recreationally, are now subject to taxation on their winnings. European Union players face a tax rate of 19%, while non-EU players are set to be taxed at a higher rate of 24%. An additional concern arose regarding potential deductions from poker tournament payouts.
To allay these worries, organizers Casino Barcelona and PokerStars have clarified that no deductions will be made from the tournament winnings. However, they emphasize that players are responsible for adhering to the tax laws of their respective regions and recommend consulting their local tax authorities regarding tax obligations.
The tax landscape’s uncertainty is not entirely uncharted territory. Past incidents have shown that even high-profile poker players can be caught in the crosshairs of tax demands. Notably, German professional Hossein Ensan experienced this firsthand. Four years after his victory at EPT Barcelona in 2014, Spanish authorities presented Ensan with a tax demand amounting to six figures.
The pivotal change in the tax classification that now lumps poker players together with athletes has triggered doubts within the poker community. While it remains uncertain whether all players will indeed be required to pay taxes on their winnings, the altered tax landscape is undeniably casting a shadow of concern over the upcoming EPT Barcelona series. The question on everyone’s mind is whether the EPT Barcelona can continue to attract the impressive turnout it has enjoyed in the past.
- Online Qualifiers now running, including Freerolls
- PokerStars’ first-ever EPT stop in Cyprus!
- EPT Main Event October 16 – 22
- Includes Mystery Bounty, High & Super High Roller Events
Will EPT Barcelona See Another Strong Turnout?
The EPT Barcelona stands as one of PokerStars’ most prestigious destinations in Europe. Last year, both the ESPT and EPT Main Events witnessed remarkable turnouts.
The €1100 Estrellas Barcelona 2022 Main Event attracted 6313 entries, making it the biggest PokerStars-sponsored live event in the brand’s history. Furthermore, the EPT Barcelona Main Event, with an entry fee of €5300, entered history as the largest-ever EPT Main Event organized by the operator after 2294 runners showed up for the event.
If the CEP’s remarkable attendance records serve as any indication, the EPT Barcelona might be poised to continue its streak of attracting enthusiastic players from all corners of the globe. While tax concerns certainly add a layer of complexity and uncertainty, the passion for poker remains unwavering.
The EPT Barcelona is scheduled to run from August 21. The prestigious €5300 EPT Main Event takes place from August 27 to September 3. Online satellites are in full swing on the PokerStars client with buy-ins starting as low as €5.50.
Head to PokerStars for a chance to play your way to EPT Barcelona!