Per a report from Inside Asian Gaming, which cited local media reports, the country of nearly 1.4 billion people plans to ban free-play online poker platforms. Chinese officials reportedly said that poker will no longer be recognized as a “competitive sport.”
As of June 1, playing and promoting the game on all social media channels will be banned, number of Chinese at legal regional games expected to drop. Chinese Poker Insider for Inside Asian Gaming:
According to Macau-based Inside Asian Gaming, as of June 1 online poker and the promotion of the game via all social media channels will be banned.
Poker has experienced a rapid rise in China despite the fact people are unable to play for money and Lai said the decision to ban it altogether would have a negative impact on places such as Macau, Manila and South Korea’s Jeju island.
“It was growing very fast, now it is going to be more difficult for operators in Asia to organise poker events because Chinese players make up over half of the field,” he said.
“Now, with the alleged policy change, there will be no ‘play money’ poker in China, and you can’t talk about poker on social media. Chinese players won’t have a chance to practice, and they won’t get to know about legal poker events around Asia. The news comes just weeks after it was announced that China will allow horse racing and new types of sports lotteries on its southern island of Hainan. While the move is yet to be officially announced by Beijing, e-commerce giant Tencent is among the companies set to be affected, with Lai saying it has already removed its poker app from the app store.
Casino games are illegal in mainland China, but gambling is allowed in Macau, a special administrative region. Macau’s gambling exclusivity helped make it the world’s largest casino market in recent years. Macau casinos first began dealing poker a little over a decade ago.
– China Gambling News: China also Considering Ending The Macau Casino Monopoly With Gambling On Hainan Island – The consideration of casinos comes amid plans for a new international airport on Hainan. The idea would be to attract gamblers from far and wide. About 70% of visitors to Macau reportedly are from mainland China.