‘The Donald’ & the WPT
‘The Real’ President Donald J Trump’s insistence that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system will go ahead in South Korea has angered China. That is understandable I guess, but China’s response has meant that the upcoming WPT (World Poker Tour) planned for Jeju Island (South Korea) has been cancelled.
Ok, let’s try and make sense of it, in case anyone is interested. The THAAD system is basically a big truck carrying some ‘bad missile shit’. Obviously, the USA Pres’ and South Korea say it is to put a halt to the plans of the crackpot dictator Kim Jong-un of North Korea. The Chinese are saying ‘’oh, really…’’.
The THAAD system (if it is deployed) will be based on land provided by a land-swap of property owned by Lotte International Co Ltd. Lotte is a massive South Korean company with shopping malls and duty free stores. The majority of it’s stores are in China where it employs 20,000 people. This past week at least 10 of Lotte’s stores have been shut with management saying this was due to “fire regulation issues”. Hundreds of people have been protesting outside those stores. Chinese authorities have been looking at the ‘fire certificates’ of a number of companies that provide tourist related services between itself and South Korea. In short, flights to South Korea have been cancelled, tours suspended, hotel bookings cancelled.
The WPT was to be held in the Paradise Casino housed in the Jeju Grand Hotel on Jeju island, South Korea. An opulent casino of over 2,700 m2, housing over 40 gaming tables and 50 slots, it relies on Chinese players. Only foreigners can play in the casino and Chinese players make up over 85% of visitors. There are no casino’s in mainland China so many players take a short-haul flight to Jaju island. The hotel has over 500 comfortable rooms which are reasonably priced (USD $80 per night). Consequently, it is Chinese players that make up the majority of entrants to the WPT Festival would have been Chinese. The WPT is owned by Ourgame International Holdings Ltd. The Hong Kong listed company offers online gaming in Asia, mainly China. The company purchased the WPT in 2015 for USD $35m. At the official website, the company announced on Monday
Due to factors beyond our control, the World Poker Tour (WPT) today announced the cancellation of WPT National Korea scheduled for March 17-21, 2017, at Paradise Casino at Jeju Grand.
As you may be aware, several major airline carriers have suspended air travel in the region. In the best interest of our players, the event will no longer be taking place.
Change in South Korea Leadership
Shortly after the WPT announcement, the South Korean President, Park Geun-hye was ousted. However, it had been coming for a while. President Park was a bit ‘dodgy’ as they say in Seoul (somebody probably does). The front-runner to take her place is Moon Jae-In, a liberal who you would expect to want to ease the tension. In which case, ‘The Donald’ may lose his missiles but all will be well again with the Asian poker circuit.