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Coronavirus Concerns Grow; Golden Poker Million Marrakech Canceled

Casino de Marrakech

The Golden Poker Million Marrakech, scheduled to be held March 13-22 in the Casino de Marrakech in the Es Saadi Resort, was canceled on Saturday due to government-imposed restrictions to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The last-minute event pulling is the latest in a series of mass-cancelations of events across the globe in recent days, including high-profile ones such as the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, as well as poker stops like the Triton Super High Roller Series in Jeju.

In a statement released by the direction of the Casino de Marrakech on March 7, the tour's host said that "for reasons beyond our own will" the event will be off the calendar. According to the statement, in order to prevent the coronavirus to spread, the Moroccan authorities have prohibited all events for the whole month of March that involve the participation of persons coming from abroad, and the casino follows suit by pulling their event off the calendar.

It's been five days since the first official coronavirus case was established in the northern African country, with a second case identified days later.

Read the full statement from Casino de Marrakech below.

Statement Casino de Marrakech
Statement Casino de Marrakech regarding cancellation of the Golden Poker Million

WPT Barcelona Continues As Planned; Guarantees Removed

Meanwhile, the World Poker Tour came out with a statement of their own regarding the continuation of their upcoming WPT Barcelona festival, slated to run March 22-April 5 in Casino Barcelona in conjunction with partypoker LIVE.

While the event is currently planned to continue as scheduled, earlier announced guarantees have been removed from all events in anticipation of lower attendance numbers due to the coronavirus.

The company put out the following statement on their website and Facebook page:

"Dear players,

We’ve had many discussion the last few days with all the parties involved for the upcoming events and we considered various options including cancellation.

The WPT Barcelona festival will continue as scheduled from March 22-April 5 at Casino Barcelona in partnership with partypoker LIVE.

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing concerns with COVID-19, balanced with our ongoing approach of keeping the best interests of our players in mind, we regret that we will no longer be able to offer guarantees for this event.

Qualifiers to earn WPT Passports for the WPT Barcelona festival will continue to run on partypoker all the way up to the beginning of the festival. Passports are also valid for WPT UK in September and WPT Montreal in October.

Casino Barcelona has assured us that ample sanitization products will be available during the festival and will provide for a clean playing environment."

Will the 2020 WSOP Continue As Planned?

The Golden Poker Million cancelation is the latest poker series to be added to the rapidly growing list of events pulled due to the COVID-19 threat. Just days ago, the plug was pulled on Malta's Siege of Malta as well as the Malta Poker Championships, both citing "the need to safeguard the health of players and staff" as a priority. Earlier, the Triton Super High Roller Series was scrapped from the schedule, as well as WPT events in Asia.

King's Resort in Rozvadov announced a radical policy by banning all Italian players for an undisclosed amount of time. Italy is the European country currently affected the most by the coronavirus. On Friday evening, another sharp increase in casualties occurred, with Italy's civil protection agency in Rome reporting 49 new fatalities, leaving 90 dead in the span of just 48 hours.

With the coronavirus continuing to spread, the poker world keeps its fingers tightly crossed in the hopes the 2020 World Series of Poker will be unaffected. Earlier, Vice President of Corporate Communications for the WSOP Seth Palansky confirmed that the World Series of Poker are monitoring the situation closely, but as of now, it's business as usual with WSOP events and schedules remaining intact and planned to go on without interruption.

However, since the statement, the first cases of corona in the state of Nevada were identified, confirming the virus is spreading closer to the WSOP's Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. Still, Vegas-based poker series such as the Wynn Spring Classic that's currently ongoing and reported by PokerNews, remain unaffected as of now.

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Yori Epskamp

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