In Chinese gambling news, Hainan is due to get a new major hotel development, financed by the Chinese conglomerate Fosun International, and the South African casino entrepreneur Sol Kerzner. Although both parties deny that the hotel will have any casino or gambling facilities, the plans still fuel rumors that the Chinese government could liberalize gambling on the island.
Under current Chinese gambling laws, there are only two places in the country where any form of gambling outside the state run lottery are allowed. Due to the popularity of casinos amongst Chinese, Macau has therefore swept past Las Vegas to become the biggest casino resort in the world. Hong Kong has also been trying to get in on the act with floating casinos off the coast.
Hainan has attracted plenty of attention from casinos in the past too. The island – off the southern coast of China – has seen casinos set up before, casinos promptly closed by the government. Meanwhile, major casino companies MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment are hovering around the island with the traditional hotel companies such as InterContinental.
With online and mobile casinos also banned in the country, and plans for new casinos in the region taking shape, there are many analysts and gamblers hoping the Chinese government will relax its stance on gambling.
A new gambling zone has recently been opened in Primorye, Far Eastern Russia, with a giant casino resort due to be built. This casino would be very close to the Chinese border – near to the city of Vladivostok – and would target Chinese gamblers.
Meanwhile, with the 2020 Olympics approaching, Japan is expected to pass legislation allowing the building of a mega casino in the capital, Tokyo, or in Osaka. With these plans taking shape, the Chinese government could lose casino tourism dollars. With Macau’s share of non-Chinese gamblers in the region already declining, action will need to be taken soon.