3 mins Read
The recent ban on all poker apps in Mainland China by Chinese government, and the subsequent ban of all poker advertising on WeChat and Weibo have come as a harbinger of bad news for the poker scenario in Macau.
A dazzlingly big upcoming planned event in Macau- the International Poker Tour (IPT) has been indefinitely called off by its organizers – AliSports. Making matters worse for Macau’s poker market comes the shutting down of poker operations at two casinos – i.e. PokerStars Live Macau at the City of Dreams and Galaxy Macau.
The IPT that was to be held from May 16-20 with an HK$5 Million Main Event at the Venetian could have brought in hoards of recreational and professional poker players from all over Asia and beyond to Macau.
The event was aimed as a promotional platform for AliSport’s new poker mobile app. AliSports was hoping that thousands of players from China would participate in IPT after qualifying online via its app. The ban came through in April end and suddenly rendered its mobile app obsolete, advertising stopped on social media and participation went awry.
According to the IPT 2018 Macau postponement’s official announcement, “After careful consideration the IPT organizing committee decided to postpone their stop in Macao. IPT 2008 matches will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Stay tuned for updates on the IPT official website, http://ipt.mind-sports.com where all changes and updates will be released through IPT official announcements.”
So, though AliSports has only suspended its operations in Macau until it works out a solution to its current troubles, it’s clear that the app ban will cripple the budding online poker environment in Macau and Asia.
Then, there’s the disturbing news that the popular PokerStars Live Macau Poker room at the stunning City of Dreams complex will no longer host poker games. PokerStars took over the operations of poker in the casino since 2013 and has now decided not to renew its contract with the management. The poker room just recently hosted the ‘2018 Macau Millions’ event that witnessed participation of 2,499 players, the highest for it till date and though not clear whether PokerStars will relocate or pull out completely, the online poker giant should be eyeing for a new destination to host its poker extravaganzas.
Although poker rooms at the Venetian and Wynn are buzzing with activity currently and the Asian Poker Tour also enjoyed a successful outing at the Macau Billionaire Club, another casino – Galaxy Macau has closed its poker room, bringing in a fresh wave of disappointment for poker fans. To sum it up, it’s been a downsizing of sorts for poker in Macau.