World poker champion Espen Jorstad won 2022 WSOP Main Event for $10,000,000 on July 17, 2022 and now, half a year later, he still hasn’t been paid. So, what’s the deal here?
Poker winnings are considered a taxable income in United States, but many countries have a tax treaty with the U.S., including United Kingdom where Norwegian resides and where gambling winnings aren’t taxed at all, so Jorstad can keep full $10 million first place prize.
But right now, he can’t cashout his winnings due to the fact he doesn’t have an ITIN yet (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number), which are issued by the IRS and they exempt players from paying taxes to the IRS and instead leaves tax obligations to the local tax authority.
This process usually takes a few months, but because of a backlog at IRS, he still hasn’t been issued an ITIN to this day. If he would try to cash in the money without one, casino would withhold 30% of his winnings which amounts to $3,000,000.
Until few years ago, casinos were allowed to issue ITINs themselves, but after some rules and regulation changes that is not possible anymore. Espen was hoping to get an ITIN when he finished in the money at the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas as Wynn was one of the last casinos who were still handling ITINs as late as 2018. Unfortunately, he learned the hard way that wasn’t the case anymore in 2022.
World champ not being able to withdraw his WSOP winnings has even bigger implications than just him being without that money. Jorstad revealed after his Main Event win that he "only" had 56% of himself, as he made 14 different swaps with his friends ranging from 1% to 7.5%, so he owns 4.4 million $ to them and we’re sure, they are eagerly awaiting for IRS to finally issue him ITIN.
Espen jumped into vlogging world few months ago and he’s bringing us behind the scenes of high stakes poker tournaments, something we haven’t experienced before. From Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, to Triton High Stakes series in Northern Cyprus, to EPT London and now PCA Bahamas. Check out all the vlogs in our video section.