We all know that Macau is a casino paradise. Now, that very same gambling hub is threatened by the possibility of legal gambling in Hainan, China.
On the 2nd of February 2018, a source from Bloomberg reported that the Chinese authorities were drafting a proposal of legal gambling in Hainan. The proposal also includes relaxing visa rules and constructing a new international airport in the island. They are all part of an effort to attract foreign tourists to Hainan Island or ‘China’s Hawaii’.
Gambling in China is generally illegal at the moment, except in Macau and Hong Kong. However, the proposal plans to make online gambling, sports betting and lottery in Hainan legal. The birth of physical casinos is to be part of the long-term plan, in hopes that this strategy will smooth future legalizing processes.
The Rumor Has Already Caused a Big Blow to Macau
At this stage, the Chinese authorities claim that the proposal is just a rumor. However, Macau’s gambling industry still got affected. Shortly after the news of legal gambling in Hainan came out, Macau casino stocks decreased sharply by 7% at the most. Fortunately, the percentage has steadily returned to normal.
It’s perfectly plausible for Macau to be alarmed. More than two thirds of gamblers in Macau are from mainland China. Macau online casinos and on-land casinos may very well lose a chunk of mainland visitors to Hainan Island, if gambling in Hainan ever became legal. It could be the end of the gambling monopoly era for Macau.
Bad Timing of Legal Gambling in Hainan News
The gambling industry in Macau accounts for roughly 33 billion dollars of income. Its revenue is 5 times more than that of Las Vegas’. So, the news of legal gambling in Hainan could not have come at a worse time.
In 2020, Macau casinos’ licenses will expire. Nobody can confirm if the gambling operators will re-apply for the licenses or not. If they decide to target Hainan Island instead, Macau would experience a huge loss in this billion-dollar business sector. However, many analysts do not expect gambling laws in China to change any time soon. It goes against the communistic nature of the country.