Speculation that significant numbers of Chinese players may have been colluding on the internet poker site Pokerstars.com appeared to be confirmed this week when the company e-mailed the following notice to China-based players.
 
Pokerstars.com has introduced a new security feature that prevents players from certain countries playing at the same ring game table.
 
“This restriction means that only one player from each of these countries is able to play at the same ring game table. You are able to play at any ring game table you wish but once you are seated no other player from your country will be able to join the table. Similarly, if another player from your country is seated, you will be unable to join that table until they leave.
 
“We regret the inconvenience that this has caused you but this policy has been implemented to enhance the integrity of the games.”
 
The present restriction was preceded by an initiative earlier this year where Pokerstars.com instituted restrictions on Chinese players in their sit-and-go tournaments and double-or-nothing games.

A slap on the wrist from Aussie media watchdog
 
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has censured Nine Network and Network Ten, finding that they breached their broadcasting obligations by promoting an online poker site.
 
The advertisement for pokerstars.net was televised over coverage of Wimbledon 2009 by Nine Network and Network 10 also came under scrutiny for billboard advertisements run before a weekly sports show.
 
This is the first investigation by the Authority into breaches of the IGA which prohibits the promotion of interactive gambling services.
 
The networks both defended their position by arguing that players join pokerstars.net for free and therefore were not promoting gambling.  The authorities findings, however, were that that website was clearly aimed at directing users to pokerstars.com, a gambling site.
 
Chris Chapman, Authority chairman stated "All providers of television, radio and datacasting service need to ensure they are fully aware of and comply with their obligations under the IGA."
 
Both Networks have been ordered to hold staff training meetings on the IGA but a spokesman has said that stricter licence conditions or legal action will be instigated against broadcasters found to be in breach of the IGA in future.