Poker App Ban in China Forces PokerStars to Abandon City of Dreams1 year ago
China’s crackdown on poker apps and the ban on social media promoting the game has forced PokerStars and others to cancel events and close poker rooms in Macau, leaving Asian poker fans wondering what bad news for the game will come next.
PokerStars have ended their partnership with the City of Dreams Macau casino, putting their PokerStars Asia events in a quandary, with Stars Group VP of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser stating this week:
“We can confirm that the PokerStars partnership with City of Dreams Macau has come to an end. We are working on ensuring that we can continue to bring high quality live events in Asia.”
PokerStarsLIVE Macau have until now boasted several events taking place at the City of Dreams, describing them as “Asia's biggest & richest poker tournaments including the ACOP, Macau Poker Cup, Macau Millions, and APPT Macau”, the likes of John Juanda and David Kitai running deep at their March APPT event.
As reported by Somuchpoker.com, the International Poker Tour Macau (IPT), due to be hosted by Alisports from May 16th to 20th, has also had to cancel their series, explaining:
“After careful consideration, the IPT Organizing Committee has decided to postpone their stop in Macao. IPT 2018 matches will be rescheduled as soon as possible.”
One of the main reasons for these ‘withdrawals’ from the Macau scene is the knock-on effect of the social media ban, outlets such as Wechat and Weibo no longer allowed to promote the tournaments, organisers naturally unable to attract players so easily, making them unsustainable financially.
As explained by PokerNews, the fact that IPT Macau ‘was planned largely as a promotional event for Alibaba's recently launched poker app, and was also dependent on a large number of qualifiers via the Chinese app’, highlights the other part of the Chinese crackdown.
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