Big Changes at IPT: Tour to Be Sold, London Event Cancelled

The future of the fledgling, multimillion-dollar International Pool Tour was cast in a new light on Saturday by the surprising news that tour founder Kevin Trudeau had entered into an agreement to sell the tour, and that the IPT Players 8-Ball Championship, scheduled for Oct. 22-29, had been cancelled.

Both announcements came during the players’ meeting Saturday for the IPT’s World 8-Ball Open Championship, set for Sept. 3-10 at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nev.

According to an IPT release, the IPT has agreed to a purchase by Ho Interactive, a new company started by casino owner billionaire Stanley Ho, who also owns online gambling site www.hocasino.com. IPT founder Trudeau told the crowd of 200 players that Ho Interactive will be taken public on the London exchange at some point in the near future.

The 84-year-old Ho is worth $6.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine’s 2006 list of the richest people in the world. The Hong Kong-based Ho controls virtually all casinos and gaming in Macau, a small Chinese territory off China’s southern coast.

Little was immediately known about the sale, or how it will affect the IPT’s plans for a 2007 season. BD will release new information as it becomes available.

The players also were informed that the London-based Players Championship was cancelled, due to problems in negotiations with The Excel, the intended host facility.

IPT Director Deno Andrews had told BD in the days leading up to the World 8-Ball Open event that cancellation of the event was a possibility, due to several reasons. They included the fear among some players of a terrorist attack, sparked by recent terrorist arrests in the U.K.; the trouble several international players were encountering obtaining visas for the U.K.; and conflicts in the programming schedule of EuroSport, the broadcast network that had planned to air some of the IPT matches live.

“At every juncture, we’ve had a problem with the London tournament,” Andrews told BD on Aug. 25.

Three more events are set on the IPT’s 2006 schedule: the Masters 8-Ball Championship, Nov. 26-Dec. 3 in Chicago; the King of the Hill Invitational 8-Ball Shootout, Dec. 12-17 in Las Vegas; and a simultaneous 2007 qualifying event, also set for Dec. 12-17 in Las Vegas.

At the players’ meeting, IPT members were promised a minimum of $13,000 for the 2006 season for every player who played in all the 2006 tournaments. Those whose total winnings were short of the figure would be written a check for the difference.