Activision Blizzard took mind-boggling amount from US taxpayers in 2018 - Dexerto
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Activision Blizzard took mind-boggling amount from US taxpayers in 2018

Published: 18/Dec/2019 20:46 Updated: 19/Dec/2019 15:20

by Bill Cooney

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Video game publishing giant Activision Blizzard reportedly managed to not pay any United States federal income taxes in 2018, and even got a nice kickback from the federal government on top of it.

A new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) listed 60 of the top companies in America that didn’t pay any federal income tax for 2018.

Activision Blizzard is one of the first companies named, but the list also includes Amazon who owns the popular streaming platform Twitch.

ITEP said that the companies in the recent report appeared to be “using a diverse array of legal tax breaks to zero out their federal income taxes.”

According to the report, Activision Blizzard raked in $447 million in listed income for 2018, but paid no income tax and ended up getting $228 million in tax rebates, courtesy of US taxpayers.

To look at it another way, the company managed to receive a -51% tax rate, which means their rebate was more than half of the listed income for the company in 2018.

ITEPActivision Blizzard and Amazon were among the 60 listed companies to pay no federal income tax in 2018.

Amazon, who brought in over $10 billion during 2018, didn’t pay any federal income tax either, but only received a paltry $129 million kickback – a roughly -1% tax rate.

Twitch was purchased by Amazon for $970 million in 2014, which makes it tough to distinguish the streaming platform’s revenue from that of its parent company.

It’s crazy for many to think about how that these companies brought in so much money and didn’t have to pay a cent in federal income taxes – but under the current system, it’s all completely legal.

TwitchWe don’t know exactly how much money Twitch brought in for 2018, but Amazon seems to have done just fine.

According to ITEP, both Activision Blizzard and Amazon were able to reduce their income taxes in part by using what’s called a “tax break for stock options.”

“This tax break allows companies to write off stock-option related expenses in excess of the cost they reported to shareholders and the public,” ITEP explained in their report.

Amazon was able to reduce its income taxes by more than $1 billion in 2018 using the stock options tax break, and Activision Blizzard reported $58 million in tax breaks from the system, along with another $46 million tax credit for “Research and Development.”

Activision Blizzard is on track for another good year in 2019, with the company reporting on December 18 that the newest Call of Duty: Modern Warfare title has brought in over $1 billion so far.

It will be very interesting to critics to see what federal income taxes if any, they end up paying in 2019.

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Exclusive: Dota 2 legends OG bring Asian bookmakers Fun88 into esports

Published: 17/Nov/2020 7:59

by Adam Fitch

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Fun88, the Asian bookmakers who sponsor football club Newcastle United, have entered esports through a deal with OG.

The two-time champions of The International, the best-paying tournament series in esports, have signed a multi-year partnership with the betting company.

The partnership will see Fun88 work with the organization to “bring fans closer to the Dota 2 action” through community interactions and “pre-play, real-time, and post-match insights.”

The bookmakers will also have their logo shown on the shoulder of jerseys worn by the legendary Dota 2 players.

OG N0tail The International 2019
Valve
OG are the defending The International champions.

OG’s well-known roster includes Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundsteni, Martin ‘Saksa’ Sazdov, Sébastien ‘Ceb’ Debs, Topias ‘Topson’ Taavitsainen, and Yeik ‘MidOne’ Nai Zheng.

They are the current defending world champions having won The International in both 2018 and 2019, with this year’s iteration of the tournament being delayed due to the global health situation.

“OG Esports’ legacy and story in Dota is one of the most legendary stories in esports and, because of this, we have been able to break into the mainstream and our story has been documented in many mediums — articles, magazines, and several documentaries,” JMR Luna, CEO of OG, told Dexerto. “Following this trajectory, OG has become the breach for new non-endemic companies that want to break into this space.”

“Fun88 have a great track record and have really invested in traditional sports, this is the next step for them as they recognize that some of the biggest competitions in the world right now are happening behind screens,” he continued. “This is a great moment for esports because we’re welcoming a new massive brand into our ecosystem which ultimately benefits everyone. We’ve worked really hard to make this happen and we’re happy we can finally announce it.”

Outside of esports, Fun88 have worked with late basketball icon Kobe Bryant and football club Tottenham Hotspur. In July 2020, they extended their sponsorship deal with Newcastle United for an undisclosed period of time.

Betting sponsors may not be new in esports, but this is the first rodeo for Fun88.