Full Tilt Poker Begins Transitioning EU Players to fulltiltpoker.eu
A little over three months following the relaunch of Full Tilt Poker’s dot-com site last November by PokerStars, players from three European Union countries — Greece, Luxembourg, and Slovenia — were transitioned to the new Malta-based fulltiltpoker.eu site on Monday.
While fulltiltpoker.eu is essentially identical to the .com site and player pools are combined across both, the new site allows EU-based players to play on Full Tilt Poker without incurring tax liabilities from their winnings.
Like the pokerstars.eu site that went live almost exactly one year ago, the fulltiltpoker.eu site is licensed in Malta by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) and not by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission which licenses both PokerStars.com and FullTiltPoker.com.
In some EU countries, gambling winnings are considered tax-free if won from sites located within the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA includes the 27 member States of the EU — in other words, it includes Malta, but not the Isle of Man. (EEA integration is currently being discussed with regard to the Isle of Man, but the small island in the Irish Sea is not currently a contracting party to the EEA.)
Thus will the .eu version of Full Tilt Poker give EU players the ability to play on an EEA site and avoid tax liabilities. Such an ability most certainly suits the interests of full-time players in EU countries who will be able to play on fulltiltpoker.eu, and will likely increase traffic on FTP from those countries.
Nick Jones reported for PokerFuse last November how a number of players in Sweden had been contacted by tax authorities requesting they report their winnings on non-EEA sites. Thus was the Isle of Man-licensed fulltiltpoker.com site a less attractive option for EU players given the IOM’s non-EEA status.
On his “FTP Update/Answers – Feb. 5” TwoPlusTwo post of a week ago, FTP Poker Room Manager Shyam Markus noted that the “groundwork” for the launch of the .eu site had been included in the new update and that the expectation was “to begin rolling .eu out over the next few weeks.”
Then yesterday morning the site was paused for a short period in order to transition players from Greece, Luxembourg, and Slovenia over to the new .eu site. The move from the .com site to the .eu site is mandatory for players in the three countries.
According to Full Tilt Poker’s FAQ page regarding the new .eu site and the migration of players, those playing from Finland, Germany, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and the Netherlands will also eventually be transitioned over to the .eu version of FTP. Meanwhile players from other EU countries will only be able to play on Full Tilt via the .com site, although FTP reports they “are evaluating rolling this [transition to the .eu site] out to other countries.”
As mentioned, the player pool is shared between the .com and .eu sites, and all FTP games and tournaments are identical as well. Those players migrating to the new site do have to agree to slightly different Privacy Policies and Terms and Conditions.
Some of the differences between the two sets of TOCs are additional disclaimers on the .eu side that “Full Tilt Poker does not provide advice to Users regarding tax and/or legal matters” and recommendations to players they consult “appropriate advisers and/or authorities” in their own jurisdiction with regard to such matters. The .eu TOC also contains more detailed warnings against arbitrage and other fraudulent activities.
Players from all nine of the EU countries ultimately slated to make the move over to fulltiltpoker.eu have already been similarly transitioned over on the PokerStars side to its .eu site.
Meanwhile, American players for whom PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker are obviously inaccessible note the irony of how cash balances on the new fulltiltpoker.eu site — as on the .com site — remain in USD currency.