The Ministry of Finance decides to recognize poker players as professional sportsmen and women for tax purposes

The Spanish Ministry of Finance and the Tax Administration Agency announced the decision to recognize poker players as professional sportsmen so that, after winning a prize, they can be taxed in the European country.

In a note from the agency, published on March 28 and published by the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, it is detailed that billiards, chess, and playing cards players will also be included in this category.

Likewise, the text specifies that “the agreed concept of sportsmen covers both professionals and amateurs” and that they will be subject to this regulation “even those who act as such in a single event. Thus, the taxpayer’s activity is not required to be habitual.”

According to the referred Spanish media, this decision of the Treasury “opens the door to end a historic battle with professional poker players,” whose elite have decided to establish their tax residence outside Spain “in search of friendlier and, above all, safer regulations.”

“All those great players still live outside Spain, but they come back to play the tournaments and festivals that are organized every year. […] Every time they came and won huge prizes, they declared them (if they had to) wherever their tax residence was located,” the text further explained.

“With this equalization to professional sportsmen, the Treasury intends to keep a part of all that capital that goes with the players who win the prizes,” the Treasury said about the Spanish government’s decision.

With the previous rules, they pointed out, “the taxation of the money won in a poker tournament is similar to the lottery, something that will have to change as soon as the categorization of the players is modified.”