Minister's suggestion puts Taiwan poker tournaments on the map
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Minister without Portfolio Yang Chiu-hsing recently suggested during an inter-ministerial meeting that poker games be defined as intellectual contests instead of gambling, opening the possibility of locally hosted tournaments.
August 13, 2013, 12:12 am TWN
Yang said that poker tournaments are internationally renowned events. As a host of the widely televised competitions, Taiwan could be seen by the whole world. A tournament is currently being considered for Taipei or Kaohsiung, and it is conservatively estimated that the one-week event could bring in at least NT$45 million in tourism.
Citing remarks at the meeting by Justice Ministry representatives that defined criminal gambling as a for-profit game of chance played, Yang pointed out that poker tournaments are mainly competitive competitions. Unlike in gambling, players in tournament are not allowed to buy in after going bust, Yang said. Prospective investors have promised to keep the tournaments run by nonprofit, nongovernmental groups, he added.
Yang said that poker tournaments are international events and are broadcast live worldwide by channels such as ESPN Sports. Becoming one of the cities hosting poker tournaments would, aside from boosting tourism revenue, be a great opportunity to bring Taiwan to the world, he said.
The former Kaohsiung County magistrate also claimed that he will strive for the opportunity that the tournament be held in Kaohsiung to promote Southern Taiwan tourism.
According to Yeh Ching-yun, a lawyer at the firm commissioned by the organizer of the World Series Poker to handle the establishment of a Taiwan leg, each match would bring about 2,000 tourists, with the 1,700 contest participants and their dependents staying in five-star hotels. It is estimated these tourists would bring in at least NT$45 million for local businesses during their short stay for the tournament, Yeh said.