An Italian waiter working in Germany thought that he’d achieved every poker player’s dream of freedom after winning over €55,000 on PokerStars. However, his dream has been put on ice along with the money that a German bank froze under the banner that online poker is illegal.
The story all began when “RuiDeck,” a 29-year-old Sicilian man who was waiting tables in Dresden, Germany, won a $22 seat in the $1 million MicroMillions Main Event. RuiDeck only had $11 in his account at the time and decided to use 10 FPPs to win the seat. But a magical run occurred next, which saw him take third place and earn $59,480 (approx. €54k).
This encouraged him to quit waiting tables and try to make online poker his career. However, this is when further trouble began because he had to wait on a €40,000 withdrawal due to European Union banking standards, which are put in place to prevent money laundering. After weeks of waiting, he was finally told that the money was frozen because online poker is illegal in the federal state of Saxony.
PokerStars was nice enough to lend a helping hand and write a letter to the bank. However, it seems unlikely that this will do much good, considering that Stars is only licensed in the state of Schleswig-Holstein.
The matter looks even more grim when one considers that another German man had €63,490 in blackjack winnings frozen due to online gambling being a grey area in Deutscheland. 15 out of the 16 federal states do not condone online gambling, however, they all have their own pieces of legislation on the matter. This being said, Germany definitely seems like a country that could benefit from federal legislation on the matter, whether legal or illegal.