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World Poker Tour Announces Upcoming Japan Tournament Series

Poker Tour Says Japanese Market Is 'Flourishing'

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Japan recently legalized Las Vegas-style casinos, and now one of the world’s top poker brands is coming to the nation.

The World Poker Tour announced Tuesday that it has forged a partnership with a group called the Japan Poker Union Corporation. The WPT will be making its first ever appearance in the country Nov. 23-26. There are four events at the tournament stop in Tokyo. A venue wasn’t disclosed, though the WPT said qualifiers will take place at local poker clubs.

“The Japan Poker Union Corporation is very pleased to partner with the World Poker Tour on this brand new event, WPT Japan,” the group said in a statement. “The World Poker Tour is the perfect brand to help launch a new chapter for poker in our country, and we look forward to hosting players from all over […] and showcasing all that this great region has to offer.”

WPT CEO Adam Pliska added that the “Japanese poker market is a flourishing one.”

The tour had a stop in Beijing earlier this year, and it also has a WPT India series scheduled for early November. The WPT is a subsidiary of Beijing-based Ourgame International. Ourgame bought the WPT from bwin.party digital entertainment for $35 million in cash two years ago.

Whenever the casinos are built in Japan, the regulated casino gambling market in the country could be worth $40 billion per year, according to industry estimates. That would be about half the U.S. market. Companies like Las Vegas Sands and MGM have already expressed interest.