PokerStars advises players to withdraw funds
Unconfirmed reports yesterday state that PokerStars will be exiting China, Macau, and Taiwan markets as of today, September 1st. PokerStars offers players expedited withdrawal methods to clear out their accounts…
PokerStars to pull out from China, Taiwan and Macau starting September 1
— Anuj Arora (@anuj2212) August 31, 2020
The news broke on the 2plus2 forum when one user shared what appeared to be an email from Stars Support, detailing the various ways that players in each of the three countries could withdraw money.
Patrick Leonard, who co-founded the BitB staking and coaching stable, was quick to pick up on the rumoured withdrawal.
He tweeted: “Wow this is huge news. Just checked lobbies from yesterday and wasn’t a single Chinese account in the 1k psko for example, must already be kicked? Huge news as Chinese guys are big action in the HS.”
The ensuing online discussion on poker forums threw up an interesting piece of information…
Tinghozu wrote: “Just FYI, apart from the standard Pokerstars.com client, Pokerstars have been running a special skin for China in corporation with a SEA company called 6up since several years ago.
“The 6up skin shares the .com player pool and it offers different deposit/withdrawal options than .com client. At the moment, customer support of 6up claims that Chinese players on their skin are supposed not to be affected.
Players using a different PokerStars skin
The poster added: “So if you see Chinese players playing in the following days, they should come from that skin.”
The company, 6UP, was named several times in PokerStars blog stories last year as being ‘the official partner of PokerStars in Asia’.
Poker journalist Anuj Arora tweeted out a 6UP connection to many PokerStars players…
Another interesting bit – https://t.co/uERStONUTd
Indeed, a lot of players from China have their usernames start with 6up and it appears that PokerStars have some sort of partnership with themhttps://t.co/zuYHMIdcQf is PokerStars Live Macau Branded site. pic.twitter.com/NqQQP5ExKH
— Anuj Arora (@anuj2212) August 31, 2020
Further restrictions by the Chinese government
With real-money play ‘officially unavailable’ in all three countries, the Chinese government has been tightening up restrictions on cross-border gambling and payment processors.
PokerStars is yet to comment on the rumored pullout. Although it fits in with this week’s announcement by parent company Flutter Entertainment.
In an interim trading report they stated that “a small number of TSG (The Stars Group) jurisdictions that Flutter had previously determined it would not operate in and in such cases, we have now switched these markets off.”
The Chinese government has been clamping down on all forms of gambling-related activity, including online, for several years now.
That point was made by another well-known poker reporter, Christian Zetzsche, as the news and questions about PokerStars’ latest decision spread…
Are you aware that the Chinese government has made several attempts over the years to crack down online gambling adverts on social media platforms etc? There are only a few legal gambling zones throughout the country.
— Christian Zetzsche (@zedmaster84) August 31, 2020
Among those affected by a clampdown on poker app and social media promotion of poker in 2018 was none other than PokerStars. The company ended its live partnership with the City of Dreams Macau casino because of this.
Other events and operators were also affected when it proved impossible to financially sustain tournaments when Wechat and Weibo were no longer allowed to be used for poker event promotion.
PokerStars was also named last year as the company behind the Red Dragon poker app, a traditionally ‘Chinese’ online cardroom app.
The big surprise was that Stars would give their name and support to an unlicensed and unregulated mobile poker app, and Stars would also run Red Dragon live events in Jeju, Manila, and Macau.
This week’s news also mirrors PokerStars’ May 2018 withdrawal from real-money poker in the Hong Kong market. It was a last-minute decision relayed by email that left many players in the lurch.
The reason given was a generic, “PokerStars frequently reviews commercial and regulatory developments around the world. Should this week’s unconfirmed reports about China, Macau, and Taiwan prove correct, it likely to be for similar obscure reasons.
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