Was Duhamel Operating a "Business" From 2010-2012?

Published on October 30th, 2020 8:29 am EST

The taxman is coming after professional poker winnings in Canada.Jonathan Duhamel, the 2010 World Series of Poker main event champion, will be facing a new opponent in March of 2021 - the Canadian tax man.

Poker players from Canada have long been under the assumption that they don't have to pay taxes on their winnings, as poker is a "game of chance".

For the casual player who takes down a big score, this is definitely true.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), however, believes that if you are playing poker as a "business", you owe taxes on your winnings.


The stakes are very high in the battle between Duhamel and the Canada Revenue Agency.

The CRA is looking for $1.2 million in unpaid taxes from 2010-2012, which includes Duhamel's WSOP main event win.

The potential price for Duhamel could be even higher if he loses, as Quebec's revenue agency (which is where Duhamel resides) would likely swoop in for their piece of the pie if Duhamel loses, which could bring his potential liability up to $2.4 million.


The CRA's case is basically this: Duhamel was not playing as a casual player in 2010-2012. Instead, he was operating like a business, devoting significant amounts of time to playing poker. In addition, he had an agent during that time, entered into swaps with investors for his tournaments and signed a lucrative sponsorship deal with Pokerstars.

Duhamel, on the other hand, maintains that he received no "specific" poker training and that his sponsorship deal only came as a result of the "notoriety" he received for winning the World Series of Poker main event.

Duhamel strongly maintains that his main event score was strictly the result of "chance".


There are a number of people who reside in Canada and play poker for a living that will be closely watching this case.

Source: La Presse


Filed Under: Poker Legal Issues

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