PokerStars, the biggest online poker website in the world launched the Asian Pacific Poker Tour Beijing (APPT) event in 2014 and was happy with the crown turnout and success of the event. PokerStars decided to launch the APPT Nanjing Millions 2015 event at the City of Dreams casino in Macau and the event drew at a lot of attention considering the state of casino industry in Macau.
Macau’s casinos have been under the scrutiny of the Chinese authorities for over 12 months as Beijing continues its anti-corruption sting. Gamblers from Mainland China have preferred to stay away from Macau’s casinos and gambling revenues have significantly declined.
High stake gamblers and popular poker players from Mainland China decided to attend the APPT Nanjing Millions because they believed that they could finally play poker in Macau without having the authorities focus on them.
But true to their promise, the Chinese authorities decided to conduct a sting operation on the APPT Nanjing Millions and surprised both the organizers and the players. The authorities suspected that illegal gambling was taking at the event and decided to crackdown and investigate both players and organizers. The authorities decided to shutdown the event immediately and have asked casino staff to cooperate with the authorities and help them complete their investigation.
The raid on the APPT Nanjing Millions was kept extremely confidential and no information has been shared with the public so far. The World Gaming Magazine which is based out of Macau released a statement which read
WGM has long been concerned about live poker events in mainland China but have been reluctant to voice our concerns for fear of possibly contributing to a situation such as this. Our suspicion has always been that one of these events would be raided, especially given the current political climate in China. Now that it has happened maybe it’s time to have a genuine rethink of the whole concept of live poker tournaments in mainland China.
The APPT Nanjing Millions attracted over 2300 players and once again had Macau’s casinos buzzing with interest. However this raid has clearly indicated that Beijing will continue to target Macau’s casinos and the days for high stakes gambling with liberal laws are long over.
PokerStars are yet to release a statement regarding the cancellation of the tournament but will most likely stop sponsoring events in Mainland China.