China has recently reported on its plans to develop the gambling business on Hainan Island. The announcement was made by Xinhua News Agency after the Chinese Central Committee approved the reforms proposed by the Communist party and the State Council.
The President of China Xi Jinping also supports legislative changes concerning the legalization of horseracing and lotteries as part of the extension of the national reforms targeted at making Hainan open for the economic development. It is compliant with the plans to make the region a popular international tourist destination and an ecological zone.
Hainan is the smallest province in southern China that includes a major same-name island and several smaller islands. The main island has a tropical climate: there is a long summer without winter, which makes Hainan one of the main international centers of coastal tourism.
The idea of the island's development is in the creation of free economic zones like in Singapore and Hong Kong. These reforms are designed to develop the economy of the island at the expense of foreign financial receipts. And gambling will contribute to the increase of the tourist attractiveness.
The suggestions approved by Xi Jinping include the development of horseracing, instant and sports lotteries. The announced plan didn't contain any detailed information about the implementation of these programmes, however, the very idea corresponds to the views of many Chinese analysts. They believe that Hainan will become the first province in China offering a great variety of gambling.
Currently, gambling is prohibited in China. But the interpretation of the notion of "gambling" varies from country to country. State lotteries are allowed in mainland China. Online gambling is not banned, but the government has blocked access to offshore poker rooms.
Despite all the uncertainty, a statement of Hainan may have profound implications for the gambling industry in South-East Asia: if these reforms lead to the construction of casinos or integrated resorts, Macao will experience strong competition in the province.