Tennis Star Rafael Nadal representing PokerStars?

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rafa-pokerstarsWhen it comes to celebrity signings, PokerStars has landed quite a few prominent, mainstream stars over the years. But none may be as big as a reported deal between the world’s largest poker site and Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal.

According to reports by PokerGenio, Nadal has signed on with PokerStars for two years, and he’s going to be paid €12 million over the course of the deal. His work has already begun for Stars too since he filmed a commercial for them in late April.

If everything here is true, this would be one of the biggest sponsorship deals in online poker history since Nadal is so well recognized. He’s won a record six French Open titles, captured 10 overall Grand Slam titles, holds the current No. 2 worldwide tennis ranking, and is believed to be the greatest clay court player ever. Assuming you’re interested in joining one of the world’s best tennis players on the cyber felt, you should sign up at PokerStars and use the “MPONLINE” bonus code.

Why PokerStars signed Nadal

While Rafael Nadal is no doubt an amazing tennis player, you may be wondering how PokerStars thinks this will translate into the online poker world. And the answer is that they’re thinking specifically of Spain, where Nadal is wildly popular.

Going further, they hope to thrive in a legalized and regulated Spanish market with “The King of Clay” at the forefront of their marketing campaign. However, these plans and the Nadal signing have all been kept fairly quiet because of one big issue – back taxes that Spain is demanding from PokerStars. And this leads us to something that is entirely its own story.

A Hefty Bill

While Spain is very serious about moving forward with legalized and regulated online poker, they also want potential licensees to pay back taxes. More specifically, they want sites such as PokerStars to cover four years worth of taxes on revenue made during unregulated times. And while some sites are no longer interested in Spanish internet poker because of this, Stars seems to be one of the few rooms willing to front the bill.

Of course, this will be no easy task since reported figures have PokerStars needing to pay $257 million in back taxes. However, it’s likely that they see this as a long-term investment since Spain should be a really lucrative market – especially when you consider how well Italy and France have done with their government-regulated operations.

With a star like Rafael Nadal on board, PokerStars’ chances of making huge profits in Spain only figure to increase even more. Unfortunately, the much-discussed Full Tilt Poker deal could become a casualty as a result. That’s because it’s hard to see Stars settling with the US Department of Justice to acquire FTP for an estimated $750 million – in addition to paying $257 million in Spanish taxes.

The next few months should reveal a lot about what PokerStars intends to do with these different situations. Also, if you want to read more about the Rafael Nadal signing, you can do so at PokerGenio.

Play with the best, play at PokerStars now! – note: PokerStars is not a US friendly poker room.

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