Gambling Options In China Get Unexpected Setback

Gambling Options In China Get Unexpected Setback ( Click to Enlarge )

Beijing recently released the news that the Chinese government is not going to allow any type of gambling or horse-racing activities in the small province of Hainan (situated in the south of the country and home to almost 10 million Chinese citizens).

The news was broken by a local paper under the control of the provincial government, relaying comments made by the ranking Communist party official in Hainan province.

Policy About-turn

This story comes amid speculation that the Chinese government was considering opening up Hainan to the gambling market.

Last week, they granted the region ‘free trade zone status‘, which is part of an overall policy designed to loosen regulations and ease harsh limits on foreign capital investment across a number of sectors.

This seemed to be moving towards a conclusion offered by reports from Bloomberg back in February, that China would open up the market.

However, investors’ potential excitement will be dampened after today’s announcements appear to completely shut down any potential for a gambling market to emerge in Hainan any time in the near future.

Cultural Barriers

Liu Cigui, Hainan’s party official, said: “Some online comments about opening casinos, allowing gambling and horse-racing, or copy[ing] from capitalism and adopt[ing] overall private ownership, are divorced from China’s reality and [they are] resolutely not allowed.

Currently, the only region in China where gambling is permitted is the formally Portuguese controlled territory of Macau.

In recent months, however, Macau’s casinos haven’t been performing according to many analysts’ expectations, leading to widespread concern that the Chinese gambling market may not be of the magnitude many expected.

The potential gambling market in China has been the subject of much speculation.

Senior party officials and policy experts often cite the risk of increased social problems, with concerns echoing those of their neighbouring country of Japan.

The Japanese government finally legalised casino gambling in July of this year, however. Insiders speculate that the Chinese government may be waiting to see the impact introducing casinos has there before making the next move on domestic soil.

Investors and gambling companies will be waiting with trepidation for the next series of announcements as the situation evolves in the coming months.