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China Black Friday - Chinese Government Bans all Online Poker Apps

Tags: Black Friday, China, Stephen Lai.
Posted on 24 April 2018 by "T".

Beginning June 1, 2018, all apps that offer any type of poker will be banned in China. Playing and promoting poker on all forms of social media channels will be banned. Therefore, it is expected that the number of Chinese players at legal regional games will drop dramatically.

The poker game has been nothing but popular in mainland China and other parts of Asia. Even if the Chinese weren't allowed to play with real money, that didn't stop them from playing as they were allowed to play with play money. The game's popularity increased even more thanks to it being offered through social apps in which players can play the game against other players with the use of virtual currencies. Even Western high roller poker players have become increasingly interested in playing the Asian poker apps too - regularly playing on several smartphones or iPads, simultaneously playing multiple tables. Depositing and cashing out with these Asian poker apps are managed by ‘agents', a system not practiced by Western-faced poker websites such as 888poker, partypoker, and PokerStars.

According to Hong Kong Poker Players Association managing director Stephen Lai, "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. If you can't promote those events on social media, Chinese players won't know they are on so they won't go. It is also a blow for the Asian poker community because Chinese social media can no longer cover poker."

The purpose of being able to play poker online is one of the best ways aspiring players can qualify to compete in the live tournaments, and even if the Chinese players know that they are only paying for coins to be able to play, most of them are already satisfied just to achieve "the honor of winning".

Lai continued, "It is a shame that the government won't allow people talking about the game. We have been very happy that China have been allowing social gaming, not for money, so that people from China have a chance to practise and travel around Asia and beyond to play poker, where it is legal to do so. 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 practise, and they won't get to know about legal poker events around Asia. Poker has gone back to square one in China."

The news comes a few weeks after it was announced that China will allow horse racing and other new types of sports lotteries on its southern island of Hainan.

E-commerce giant Tencent, which actually signed an agreement with WSOP a year ago, is one of the companies to be most affected by the ban, and it has already taken off its poker app from the app store. Other gaming companies such as Alisports (Alibaba), Boyaa Interactive, and Ourgame will also have to follow suit.

The promotion of poker on social media using WeChat or Weibo will no longer be possible.

The news comes after three years (April 16, 2015) since a Chinese police task force shut down the Asian-Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Nanjing Millions event in Nanjing, China, because the tournament was being suspected of illegal gambling. In December 2017, poker player Zhou Yun Peng won the very first WSOP China for CNY 2,414,000 (or $367,000).

This is very much like China's "Black Friday" version. The Chinese government has been attempting to remove poker rooms for years, by imposing high penalties and restrictions. Now, it looks like they have won the battle.

After the ban was announced, the stocks of Boyaa Interactive International Limited dropped down by 12%. On the other hand, Beijing-based company Ourgame, the owner of World Poker Tour (they bought WPT for $35 million in 2015), said that they will adjust to the new legal situation. The ban has no effect on tournaments organized outside China.



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19 comments on "China Black Friday - Chinese Government Bans all Online Poker Apps"

 doubletop77724/04/2018 07:14:34 GMT
I really can't believe that, in this day and age, any countries can ban online poker. I am glad that we don't get any of these restrictions in Britain and i hope that they can come to some sort of an amicable resolution
 Sorin88824/04/2018 13:28:57 GMT
If government try to ban gambling in UK, the island will sink,addicted,degenerate gamblers.Chinese officials know their people better and they stop any distraction early,not waiting to become an addiction.I saw so many chinese playing in aeroport casinos.Poker had a rapid rise in China despite the fact people are unable to play for money
 godoy24/04/2018 15:26:01 GMT
unfortunately this still happens in countries where the people are controlled because they do not want them to think for themselves and act with extreme hardness to restrain any kind of manipulation afavor of the individual to control their lives their jobs and their fun and unacceptable what rubbish and this and in relation What poker is worth more than a while?
 Tony_MON7ANA24/04/2018 15:28:27 GMT
This is really depressing news for people residing in China. I take it that residents in China will no longer be able to enjoy playing even Zynga poker on Facebook. Does a recent cryptocurrency boom/crash have anything to do with this? Where next? Japan? South Korea?
 CALICUL24/04/2018 16:22:23 GMT
Very bad news for Chinese players. I sometimes met a Chinese player on the tables but did not know they were not allowed to play for real money. Probably playing from another country. The Russians must also be restricted and then poker will go into clinical death. Governors want money but bans certain games online with real money. Sad. Sad
 Mober24/04/2018 18:32:42 GMT
This is another big hit in the industry and not only.
After bans all over the planet this one, considering the population of china,
gonna have a big impact. Especially to all the sites with asian players.
Isnt it possible behind that move to be all the big land based casinos? Smile
 pochui24/04/2018 20:46:31 GMT
well that's not good for anyone, and realistically I think like really anyone... players cannot play, business cannot get revenue in the form of rake, buy-ins etc. and government cannot get their share of businesses revenues in the form of taxes
 bowie198424/04/2018 23:28:18 GMT
The only benefitial from this will be those triad members who are organizing illegal poker dens and casinos under the nose of the local authorities who are getting their cut from these activities as well. Who knows how many politicians were greased for this by them.
 Mysik8625/04/2018 05:09:52 GMT
Yeah, people always find alternative forms of play. VPN, TOR, IP from other countries...
And it's sad that the governments interfere with citizens' plays and activities. We fight for freedom for many years and it turned out, that we don't have freedom we fight for...
 dule-vu25/04/2018 09:58:54 GMT
why they have to ruin everything that is good in life!to ban poker site,to ban to comment about poker on forums and internet!its sick!people cant do what they like!even if its just talking with other players!we should do with out money whatever we want!
 Gerimantas25/04/2018 16:28:04 GMT
Big news for china market, a lot of people now have no chance to play poker and it is not good when government makes law and you like customer have nothing to do even if you have money and want to play
 godoy25/04/2018 16:36:10 GMT
I think this is a disrespect to the individual to oblige a person to do something or stop doing it and it is immaterial because it is the main right of the human being to do what he wants to do as long as it is not something against another person with malice with this prohibition it becomes increasingly clear that Achina will become a power of people controlled this fear because that was how it began with Hitler and gave in what gave only today we have more weapons that can decimate the world in the hands of criminals who just want to know fill your money and screw the world
 Mober25/04/2018 19:28:18 GMT
The funny thing is, that in most countries if not all,
it is the ones elected by the majority, doing all that crap, with the laws and changes.

In other words.You vote for them, hearing promises, expecting them to keep them and instead they act as they like, ruining it for many in the long run
and not only Smile
 dule-vu26/04/2018 11:29:07 GMT
well in china you cant vote for anybody,because its communist party and you have only that politicians on top for so many years,so you cant change anything as in other countries,especially in europe!but to stop people to have app fro things like poker and to write on forums is just stupid!
 Gerimantas26/04/2018 20:08:51 GMT
Yes like some people in this thread say that people will find other ways to play poker if they want. It cannbe illegal game or some program thst change information about you . So better be all legal from politicians and make more money to country funds from tax
 CALICUL28/04/2018 16:26:19 GMT
I do not know what the Chinese governors are trying to do but i have the impression that they want to do just like france, spain or italy. Wants to move away from online poker with other countries and to play only internally. Maybe it's better for them. Confused
 pajalnick28/04/2018 18:25:07 GMT
Well, to be precise, China already has very limited restrictions in the Internet .... therefore I do not see Chinese players on poker sites ..... and now they have decided to ban local poker ..... a terrible event for gambling Chinese ....... of course they have state-owned casinos but online poker is for me personally better
 dule-vu29/04/2018 10:11:00 GMT
but its strange that china as such a big market and where government can take billions from taxes and all other things,they want to stop something!you can make some regulations and to watch how this companies working,but to block everythings is just stupid!
 CALICUL29/04/2018 16:27:15 GMT
For the Chinese government is not stupid. They are a billion and 350 millions. They want the players money to stay in the country and will play only between them. They will earn money in the budget and the Chinese players who lose, they will only do it against the Chinese customers.

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