Viktor “Isildur1” Blom‘s new deal with PokerStars could land him with a colossal tax bill from the Swedish government, according to the newspaper Dagens Industri. Blom, who revealed his online identity as “Isildur1” during the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure last weekend, could be investigated by the Swedish Tax Authority known as Skatteverket and owe around $150 million in taxes despite his move to London last year.
The story developed after newspaper reports this week suggested that government authorities in Sweden are preparing to crack down on online gambling sites operating outside of the country. Under Swedish law, the country’s residents have to pay tax on gambling winnings unless they play on sites based in the European Union or on the state-run Svenska Spel. Dagens Industri claimed Skatteverket was planning to investigate online poker companies such as Ireland-based Full Tilt Poker, where Blom did most of his damage before signing a sponsorship deal with PokerStars.
Professional poker players in Sweden who play outside of the European Union are subject to a 30% tax rate on each winning pot. According to Dagens Industri, Blom played for around $4.5 billion as “Isildur1” on Full Tilt Poker and could end up owing the Swedish government around $150 million if they decide to follow through with the case.
Dag Hardyson from the Swedish Tax Authority told Dagens Industri that he believed Full Tilt Poker was considered to be outside of the European Union; therefore, Blom would have to pay taxes on his gambling. Another tax agency spokesperson, Erik Boman, said, “Internet poker is something we’re looking into and I know this poker player, but I can’t comment on whether we’ve opened a case.”
Blom, 20, famously ran a $2,000 bankroll into $2 million in a matter of weeks at the end of 2009 and had classic high-stakes battles with the likes of Tom “durrrr” Dwan, Phil Ivey, Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond, Brian Townsend, Justin “ZeeJustin” Bonomo, and many others. However, on one fateful night in December of 2009, Blom lost more than $4 million to CardRunners instructor Brian Hastings, all but draining his Full Tilt Poker account and causing “Isildur1” to vanish just as rapidly as he had arrived.
Now, despite losing more than $2.5 million overall on Full Tilt Poker, Blom could potentially owe nine-figures to the Swedish government. The mere idea of it has caused outrage in the poker community. One member of the TwoPlusTwo forum inquired, “How is it that these tax people can assumedly be competent and well educated when it comes to numbers and money yet fail miserably at learning/grasping elementary gambling concepts? For an actual educated official to suggest that he owes $150 million is just such outrageous infantile buffoonery on stilts on parade, it is ridiculous.”
Blom, who originally hailed from Ed, Sweden, has recently moved to London, where gambling income is not taxable. But, he could still face the bill of one billion Kroner ($149 million). It was speculated for a long time that Blom masked his identity to avoid facing the harsh tax laws in Sweden. That logic is understandable now that hundred-million dollar amounts are being discussed.
Other Swedish poker pros in the past who were saddled with unexpected tax bills from Skatteverket, as mentioned in the Expressen newspaper, include former World Poker Tour champion Martin de Knijff for $1,476,015 and Daniel Larsson for $147,601.