Forthcoming Chinese government ban on social poker games hits company share prices hard

News on 27 Apr 2018

Shares in Chinese companies offering online and mobile social poker games have shed up to a fifth of their value over the past week, following reports in local media that the government would ban all poker-related applications from June 1 (see previous reports).

The Reuters news agency has developed the story, which broke a week ago following an “informal’ directive to companies from the Ministry of Culture that found its way to local media outlets. Approached for comment by Reuters, the Ministry did not respond.

Reuters reports that shares in companies like Boyaa Interactive, Ten Cent and Our Game have seen their stocks slide up to 18 percent since the informal directive was issued on April 19.

A copy of the directive – circulated in local media and seen by Reuters – asks gaming platforms to stop operating ‘Texas Hold’em’ games, forbid services that transfer or trade virtual currency and stop the publication of anything poker or gambling-related on Weibo and WeChat.

The companies have responded by pulling poker-related games ahead of the deadline. Our Game, which claims 500 million users, said in a statement that it had pulled some of its content “in order to actively respond to the call of the country and purify the network environment … some Texas Hold’em products will be tidied and reorganized to maintain a healthy gaming environment.”

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