Third poker event canceled since December

Hanoi's World Poker Tour event abruptly canceled due to alleged lack of govt. approvals

Reading time 1:33 min

A World Poker Tour event slated to kick off Tuesday in Hanoi, Vietnam, was abruptly canceled due to a reported lack of necessary government approvals, marking the third major tournament series in Vietnam to encounter setbacks within the past half-year.

The Crown Poker Club in Hanoi, designated as the venue for the WPT Vietnam Passport to the World Championship 2024, took to social media on Monday to announce the cancellation of the series, originally scheduled to run from May 14 to 27. The club cited "technical reasons" as the cause behind the decision, stressing it was made with the athletes' best interests in mind.

“Crown Poker Club regrets this inconvenience,” the club said. “This is truly a difficult decision because, throughout its operation, Crown Poker Club has always prioritized safety and improving tournament quality first. Therefore, Crown Poker Club hopes for the sharing and sympathy of our partners, customers, and all players.”

A report from local Vietnamese-language media outlet Dan Tri suggests that the Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee, Tran Sy Thanh, ordered the cancellation after authorities investigated the event's compliance with regulatory procedures.

According to the report, the series had allegedly not secured necessary approvals from the Hanoi Department of Culture, prompting authorities to take action to ensure compliance and handle any instances of unauthorized gambling activities.

The WPT Vietnam Passport to the World Championship had promised an extensive lineup, including 63 trophy events, with over US$2 million in guarantees and 10 packages up for grabs for the WPT World Championship in Las Vegas scheduled for December.

This cancellation adds to a series of hurdles faced by major tournament series in Vietnam. In December, the Asian Poker Tour (APT) had to cut short the APT Hanoi Billions amidst accusations of violating local gambling laws. Similarly, an Asian Poker Festival series planned for April in partnership with the Royal Poker Club in Hanoi was canceled under similar circumstances.

Hanoi's Crown Poker Club had previously sparked controversy in March over a 10% "tax" imposed on players' winnings above VND10 million ($403).

However, it was later revealed that no such tax existed, and the fee was being levied by the club to cover its operational costs. Following the uproar, the club announced it would discontinue the practice after the U Series of Poker Danang series concluded in early April.

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