China Bans Online Poker Apps on Social Media
China is moving against online poker by banning play on social apps offering versions of the game and by declaring that poker will no longer be considered a competitive sport in the country.
According to Chinese media reports recounted by Inside Asian Gaming, the ban will require all apps offering any form of social poker game to be shut down and removed from app stores by June. Social media channels such as WeChat will also be banned from promoting any form of Texas Hold ‘em product.
Online poker is predominately played on social apps in Chins, the report said, so the ban could effectively block most players and companies. Hong Kong-listed Boyaa Interactive, for example, offers the Boyaa Poker Tour through an online app. The company’s share price fall by 12 percent immediately following news of the ban, the report said.
Inside Asian Gaming also reported that Tencent, developer of WeChat, has taken down its World Series of Poker app. Also, Ourgame, which owns and operates the World Poker Tour, posted a statement on its website saying it will examine and correct its poker offerings in order to satisfy the new regulations.
The full legal framework of China’s social media poker ban, however, has not been completely released.