Sweden announced last year that they would be targeting online poker sites and poker affiliates in an effort to crack down on tax evasion. At the time it was assumed that poker players would be in no danger, mostly because Dag Hardyson, who was the project leader for the internet division of Sweden’s national tax board, Skatteverket, said that they were only interested in the poker sites and affiliates. However, it has been revealed that poker players have also been identified for tax evasion and must pay back taxes and penalties. According to reports, 47 cases of suspected tax evasion have been identified, with undeclared income totaling â‚¬44.5 million, â‚¬5 million of which is due to poker players.
Players have been identified due to Sweden’s use of a web tax spider, which in its most basic function, takes the identity information from different websites, in this case poker sites, and by working with national databases, reveals more identity information and then matches it against the national tax records. Sweden began using the Xenon web spider in 2007 after switching over from their own developed web spiders. The Xenon web spider is currently in use in the United Kingdom, Austria, Canada, Denmark, and The Netherlands, which is the country where Xenon was developed.
Sweden has been cracking down on internet gambling recently in an effort to divert more money into the coffers of Sweden’s government. Sweden has been attempting to sustain their domestic monopolies in online gambling and forbid foreign online gambling marketing to Swedish citizens. Sweden’s efforts are being challenged by the European Union, but collecting taxes from the players and poker sites is a legal way for Sweden to make money off of online gambling.