Last month, the poker community was shocked to hear of the PokerStars LIVE room closure in City of Dreams Macau. For the past five years, players have come to rely on PokerStars LIVE Macau to offer the biggest and richest live poker events in Asia. With this unfortunate turn of events, along with the sudden government crackdown of online apps in China, players were left in the dark over the state of live poker in Macau.
After nearly a month of silence, on May 17 2018, Chairman of the International Entertainment Corporation (IEC), businessman / poker player Stanley Choi, announced to its shareholders that the IEC has entered into a partnership with The Stars Group, owner of the PokerStars brand.
According to the agreement,
“Stars Group has granted Lucky Genius Limited (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the IEC) the right to operate land-based live events and poker rooms under the branding of PokerStars in certain Asian countries.”
In other words, the IEC, a publicly listed Hong Kong based company, will now be in charge of handling all PokerStars events for select countries in Asia going forward.
Scope of the agreement
Somuchpoker contacted the IEC for more information and was informed that the merger was based on a three-year contract, “renewed automatically for successive periods of 12 months each.”
Plans for Macau, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam
In a recent article by PokerNews with Stanley Choi, Choi went into some detail regarding his upcoming plans and answered that big question mark looming over the community’s head, will PokerStars events still be offered in Macau? According to Choi, they are in negotiations to secure a new venue in Macau,
“We are very, very close,” he said. “Because it’s not finalized yet, I can only say that I’m positive to have a substitute for City of Dreams soon.”
If players were wondering whether their beloved festivals would still be offered, Choi quoted,
“My promise to Stars is to add one more event per year and one more poker room per year in addition to the assets they already have,”
With the market booming in Asia, and players hungry for more live offerings, Choi intends to build on the success of The Stars Group in the region, eyeing the addition of PokerStars LIVE rooms in various countries, including Japan.
“Besides Macau, we are also exploring Korea,” he said. “That will be our next target. There’s a big casino there with 3,000 rooms that’s opened up last month. There’s another one opening in Vietnam, opening in 2019, that I’m looking at.
“So there are a lot of options in Asia, and we’re looking at several opportunities in several Asian countries.”