Singapore: How online players are going to deal with the new remote gambling law?
Singapore has very recently passed a law called the 'Remote Gambling Bill'. This states that overseas operators can face a $160,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison for allowing residents of Singapore to play at their poker room. Any player caught playing on banned sites can be fined $5,000 with a possible 6 month prison term. Since the change of ownership at Pokerstars there have been several alterations, some of which include ceasing operations in countries where online poker remains a legal grey area: this could lead to Pokerstars withdrawing their services in Singapore very soon. Many Singapore players have claimed that they will continue to play poker despite the law and have suggested they can find ways around the restrictions.
Vietnam: Looking for the first big live tournament ever organized?
In other potential develoments for poker in Asia this year, there are whispers of the WPT expanding its tour into Asia, with the Grand Ho Tram casino in Vietnam being spoken of as the prime location. Everything appears to be in place for the event to be scheduled in May, although nothing has been officially announced yet. Hosting a WPT event could help put this casino resort on the map and lead to an increase in players and profits over the coming years. With a recent WPT event having taken place on Chinese soil, it seems clear that the tour hopes to continue its expansion into Asia through 2015 and beyond.
Will The Grand Ho Tram host a WPT event in Vietnam?
Japan: 2015 the year of the casino bill
Another country to watch closely in 2015 is Japan. Debates about potentially building a casino resort in the country were in progress late last year, and should continue in 2015. If the project is given the green light, it could open doors for the WPT to arrange an event there too, and for other major tournaments and tours to arrive in Japan within the next decade. All details here: http://somuchpoker.com/japan-set-lift-ban-casino-2015/
Manila: What will the new comers bring to the local poker scene?
The Philippines is another nation embracing the opportunities of gambling resorts, with Pokerstars opening its own poker room in the 'City of Dreams' casino. The room had a lively opening night with numerous cash tables and tournament tables being filled. A first 'Manila Megastack' event will take place in their new poker room on January 14th-18th. There are six tournaments scheduled, with two of those offering points towards the 'Asia Player of the Year' title..
The development of the 'Manila Bay Resort' is by no means complete yet, but should also hopefully continue to fuel growth in the gambling scene once open at the end of the year, if they choose to offer poker and host big tournaments. With the 'Solaire Resort' and 'City of Dreams' both offering poker, hopefully the 'Manila Bay resort' will follow a similar path.
Macau: Will the poker scene continue to grow?
Macau is quickly becoming the most important place in the world for live gambling of all types, but its growth has now stalled in 2014, with a reported decline in profits. You might assume that as an important worldwide gambling destination, poker is huge in Macau, but this simply isn't the case. Other more traditional games are favoured by most customers, but there are a few poker games running in three casino complexes. The Wynn, Venetian, and City of Dreams casinos offer cash games but any potential for the game to grow in Macau has been held back by table games and other game types being more profitable and popular. These facts do not necessarily mean poker is doomed to always take a back seat to other games however. The evolution of poker has seen diversity in games as popularity shifts, and with more casinos and more players, perhaps poker could still see a boom in Macau. For 2015 this looks unlikely, but with eight additional casinos opening their doors by 2017, hopes for the future remain positive.
8 casinos will open their doors by 2017 in Macau