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Poker News

Social Online Poker Ban Has Big Impact on Asian Market

Written By: Maya Michaels | May 8, 2018 | Posted In Poker News

Chinese Ministry of Culture has announced a ban on all social poker apps starting from 1 June and although the implementation of a ban is suggested to have little impact on the market, poker rooms are beginning to close already and tournaments are being cancelled.

Some companies removed their free-to-play poker games from the Chinese market and the content related to the game will no longer be allowed on WeChat or Weibo.

Both sites are two of the most popular social media networks in China, and they are not allowed anything that is perceived as promoting the game. This is a direct strike on Asian poker community because if you cannot promote the event, Chinese players won’t know they are on and they won’t go, simple as that. Huge part of poker marketing efforts has relied on Chinese social media platforms which would no longer be an option.

The ban has had a serious effect on Macau poker landscape as well. This includes the closure of two poker rooms City of Dreams and Galaxy Macau and also the postponement of the International Poker Tour Macau (IPT) that should be hosted from 16 to 20 May by Alisports. The organizer announced the postponement after “careful consideration” because Chinese players were to qualify for the tournament via the Alibaba poker app which is no longer possible.

The closing of City Of Dreams marks the end of the contract between the room and PokerStars since 2013 and it is also the end of PokerStars Asia events but it remains unclear whether those events will find home elsewhere on the continent.

It may not be all bad news, however. The Stars Group explained they are carefully monitoring regulatory changes and they do not fear of the impact on their events. They feel the ban will provide a safe and secure environment for players as well as a robust taxation regime. The Asian Poker Tour is going strong at the Macau Billionaire Club and casinos like Wynn and Venetian are still running cash games.

It will take tame to see the real impact of the social poker ban on Macau’s community market but the government is primarily implementing the ban to stop underground real money poker games in China that used social media apps to organize them.

So there is something positive in the whole matter.

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