If there’s one thing the Chinese loves, it’s their games. From Mahjong to Poker, no game is taken lightly. However, it looks like the Chinese government is trying to stamp them out this year as part of their wider crackdown on the online gambling industry.
In 2018, nearly half the games approved were poker games. This year a batch of 795 games were approved and none of them were poker. Authorities have continued to block and remove apps along with numerous arrests during the course of the year.
Tencent, an online entertainment giant in China, is one such company that had to shut its poker platforms in September last year. It also operates the all-purpose app WeChat, through which people send money in connection with gambling activities and dozens of arrests have been made on the platform.
While most platforms require users to deposit yuan from their bankcards, some have sought to cyptocurrency. However, the Chinese Government means business and will clamp down regardless of payment methods. Word has it that they busted a platform hosting bets in cryptocurrency worth more than US$1.5 billion.
The Chinese police are also not sparing the offline version. They now have drones that will be used to scan the territory and hunt down under cover gambling spots. Despite its strict gambling ban in the mainland and jail time of 10 years for operators, illegal gambling runs rampant and the drones were one of the remedial measures.
The Mainland Chinese are certainly finding alternative ways to play poker. Macau, a Portuguese colony across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong is popularly known as China’s Las Vegas. It attracts over 30 million visitors from Mainland China every year.
While poker still faces uphill battles in most nations, it is being accepted as a game of skill and growing in popularity worldwide. Bills are being proposed to regulate the online poker market and stop its exploitation.