No sign that Chinese authorities will ease restrictions on gambling.
The Chinese authorities reiterated their opposition to legal gambling this week. Luo Baoming, Hainan’s Communist Party chief, was quoted saying: “We cannot at all allow Hainan to operate casinos.” The success of Macau as well as the lack of legal gambling venues in China have led many in the government and business community to push for casino legalization in Hainan, a province in Southern China.
Numerous international developers have expressed in Hainan in recent years, including the InterContinental Hotels Group, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, and casino operators MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment, each of which sees a market for upscale tourism in the growing Chinese economy. However, Chinese gambling laws still prohibit gambling in Hainan.
Few opportunities for Chinese gamblers
The Chinese government prohibits the activity everywhere except the autonomous city of Macau. Internet gambling in China is also illegal. The lack of legal places to gamble has led millions of Chinese into underground gambling dens and card rooms. The authorities see illegal gambling as a major social ill and have recently initiated a crackdown. However, it does not appear that it will counter the problem by shifting from prohibition to regulation.