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The government of People’s Republic of China has given sanction for the development of horse racing and sports lottery in Hainan, the southernmost island of the country. The move is expected to give an impetus to the tourism activity in the province.
According to reports by the official Xinhua News, the Chinese Cabinet approved a reform agenda that includes a plan to establish a free trade zone in Hainan, which will attract foreign investors and multinationals.
The reform agenda also recommends to “explore the development of sports lottery and instant lottery on large-scale international games;” What exactly is the plan, however, is unclear.
There have been rising speculation that online betting and other gambling activities will be allowed in Hainan, which will eventually make the island a hub for land-based casinos.
One member of the group, Associate Professor Pei Guangyi at the School of Economics and Management at Hainan Normal University, published a paper in March arguing that China should legalise gaming to reduce capital outflows through foreign casinos and introduce a body of regulations.
“Since you can’t stop Chinese people from gambling, it is a better solution to make sure that foreign or private capital do not overly profit from it,” he said.
At the moment, Macau remains the only jurisdiction under China where land-based casinos are permitted.
On the mainland, residents can only partake in two forms of gambling – the China Sports Lottery and the China Welfare Lottery.
The recent reform agenda did not make mention of any plans related to casinos.
Source: European Gaming Industry News