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World Poker Tour cancels Chengdu event amid licensing concerns

Monday, 17 July 2017 07:02
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By Ben Blaschke

The World Poker Tour (WPT) has been forced to cancel its first ever tournament series in the Chinese city of Chengdu after failing to gain the necessary authorization from officials.

Due to run from 15 to 21 July, WPT owner Ourgame released a statement late Friday announcing that the event had been “urgently called off” due to them not registering and filing with all relevant departments before the event was scheduled to begin.

The WPT’s decision comes two years after an Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) event in Nanjing was raided by police and local organizers arrested for "opening a gambling house and submitting false application materials" to Jiangsu Provincial Chess Sports Association. Staff of international sponsor PokerStars were also detained briefly before later being released.

The APPT, which holds events in Macau, the Philippines, Korea and Australia each year, hasn’t returned to mainland China since.

The WPT has held an event in Sanya each year since 2013 and had only started expanding its presence across the mainland this year, with a Beijing event held in April.

Chengdu, which was to be the second stop on the expanded Chinese tour, was called off so suddenly on Friday that dealers and staff at the venue were seen anxiously asking senior staff what was happening, according to IAG sources.

WPT Chengdu was to be part of the Ourgame Chess and Poker Carnival Chengdu. In its statement, Ourgame said that it would reschedule its “World Mahjong Sports Games Straight Match” and “CCG World Card Game League Match” to 19 July and “WPT China Team Summer League Finals” to 22 July, all in Beijing.

WPT Chengdu 2017 was the only event on the schedule to be cancelled completely.

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