Chinese poker seems to be on its deathbed with the latest move by the government. You don’t have to be a politician to know that the Chinese government is fond of controlling people’s private lives and it has finally caught up with poker.
On Monday, the Chinese government recorded another win after a tech company, Tencent, announced the imminent shutdown of a poker app whose popularity among Chinese citizens was unmatched.
The announcement was however not out of the blue. In April, China had made an official announcement that it would no longer consider poker as a competitive mind sport. To that end, Beijing announced that it will be illegal to offer or promote poker over social media.
Tencent Holdings has even set a specific date to pull the plug with the complete shutdown of the poker app expected to be complete by September 25th. According to Reuters, Tencent generated $34 billion in revenue last year; from the poker app as well as WeChat- the largest social media platform in China.
WSOP app also got the cut
The world series of poker app also bore the brunt of the overzealous Chinese government. Earlier in 2017, Tencent and WSOP had partnered to “help educate and grow the competitive game of poker in Asia.” To that end, Tencent and WSOP successfully hosted a few events in the country. However, after Tencent got wind of the Chinese government’s intentions, it pulled the plug on the WSOP app from the WeChat app store according to Inside Asian Gaming.
However, after winding up, Tencent poker players will get a financial compensation subject to guidelines offered by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. This information was conveyed by Tencent on their WeChat account.
According to The Wall Street Journal, a wide array of users rely on middlemen to cash out their winnings.
In China, Macau is the only place that players can engage in casino-style gambling. However, just a few years ago, China cracked down on Macau gaming sector’s alleged corruption with the end result being a substantial drop in gaming revenues. The road to recovery by Macau’s gaming sector is, however, being affected by the ongoing trade conflict between the United States and China. An indication that all is not well in Macau is the recently scrapped live poker event after the Chinese government failed to give the go ahead.
Even before the Chinese government showed interest in regulating poker, Tencent had been forced to recall and remake a game dubbed “Playerunknown’s Battleground” because it “severely deviated from socialist core values.”
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