European Poker Tournaments Canceled
Several poker tournaments that were due to take place in venues in Europe have been canceled amid the growing fears of the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. Events that were scheduled to take place included some that were organized by PokerStars and the Bounty Poker Tour in Tallinn.
The spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 has been fast and very difficult to prevent over the past few weeks, and its spread across Europe has many worried that a pandemic of the scale of the 1918 flu that killed an estimated 50 million people might be on the cards. As such many governments and event organizers are scrambling to contain cases of the viral infection.
The virus causes especially dangerous flu-like symptoms that can be deadly to those with a compromised immune response, such as the elderly and the very young. With more than 100,000 cases reported worldwide and the number in Europe growing many large gatherings of people have had to be postponed, such as football matches.
In Italy, the European country with the highest incidence of infections, the national football league, the Serie A, has been postponed until the 3rd of April at the earliest in an attempt to quell the rise of infection. There have also been sporting events like matches in the six nations that have had to be postponed indefinitely until a solution can be found.
The high incidence of cases in Italy has led to certain institutions taking drastic measures in an attempt to prevent its spread. For example, the largest poker-based casino in Europe, the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, has announced that it will not be allowing any players that hail from Italy to enter its resort.
This announcement was made last week and came off the back of the first registered case of coronavirus in the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague.
The Casino’s management has made it clear that it is looking to lift the ban as soon as possible, but this will not be a reality until after the situation begins to improve.
With over 60 million Italians quarantined by the government in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease and many European countries considering their options when it comes to avoiding such an outbreak, several poker events have now also been canceled to limit the impact of COVID-19.
PokerStars released an official statement on the 8th of March to confirm that several of the events that it has on the books over the coming weeks in Europe have been canceled.
The company emphasized the difficulty of the decision to cancel events in its statement but, it continued, it had to make a decision that was in the best interests of everyone on the continent. After monitoring the spread of COVID-19 across Europe, the operator has found itself with little other choice but to cancel some events.
As such, all but three PokerStars events have been canceled until the 10th of April 2020, after which a further decision will be made as to how to proceed. The events that were canceled include three Road to PSPC events that were due to take place in Hamburg, Germany; La Grand Motte, France; Madrid Gran Via, Spain.
In the statement, PokerStars outlined how, because of the dynamic nature of the situation, a decision was difficult to reach with regards to live tournaments on the continent. Ultimately, the choice was made with the aim of ensuring the well-being of players whilst catering to their desires as well.
This commitment to maintaining customer satisfaction is the reason why not every scheduled event was canceled. The most notable exception to the cancellations was the decision to still run the upcoming leg of the European Poker Tour that will be held in Sochi on the 20th of March.
PokerStars has maintained its commitment to working with players to minimize the problems that they might encounter as a result of the cancellations.
In the announcement the operator made it clear that all players that have already qualified for the canceled events will be contacted by them to transfer their seats to a different upcoming tournament. If the players should decide that they no longer wish to take part in any tournament they are fully at liberty to do so.
Bounty Poker Tour
In addition to the canceled PokerStars Events, the Bounty Poker Tour has also been stopped in recent days.
The event was scheduled to take place in Tallinn, Estonia. A representative of the Tour made a statement in which they expressed their sincere disappointment with the decision that had to be made to cancel the event that was due to begin on the 19th of March.
The Bounty Poker Tour also made the point that the decision had to be made to protect the customers, and to ensure the well-being of the staff who would be working such an event.
In the statement, the rapid increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 in Baltic and Scandinavian regions over the past week. As a result of this rise, the company was advised by governmental bodies to cancel any large gatherings of people, as well as business and other kinds of trips.
The organizers of the event have tried to ease any unrest with potential players by ensuring that new dates for the Bounty Poker Tour in Tallinn will be decided and released to the public as soon as the virus has stopped spreading at the same rate as it is currently.
At the time of writing, there has been a total of 15,114 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Europe and a total of 529 deaths resulting from this. The spread of the disease has shown no signs of slowing in Europe and as such, it is likely that these events will not be the only scheduled gatherings of people that will be canceled in the future.
There is an increasing worry that some large sporting events will be in jeopardy as a result of the outbreak, with some seeing the Euros 2020 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as potential casualties of the spreading virus.
The outbreak of the virus has had an impact on a global scale. It has caused authorities to advise caution at sporting events such as Cheltenham Festival in the UK, and on the other side of the world, it has caused the cancellation of conferences and an increased level of awareness in Las Vegas.