The international press revealed that Liu Cigui, Secretary of Hainan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, has suggested casino development would not be a possibility as a business in a “free trade port” on the Chinese holiday island of Hainan, as firstly planned by authorities to set new economic developments outside Macau.
After Cigui’s statement, GGRAsia reported that “the plan for Hainan did not mention gambling or casinos, but it did mention the possibility of horse racing and an expansion of regulated lotteries,” adding: “Hainan currently offers the official welfare lottery and sports lottery found elsewhere on mainland territory.”
Earlier this year Chinese authorities stated that Macau could no longer have the monopoly on the casino industry in China, as the government was looking to legalise gaming operations in Hainan. Casino resorts are only legal in the Chinese city of Macau so far, but the island of Hainan could be the next hub for international investors that seek to expand their businesses, the opposite of what Cigui said this week.
The news agency Bloomberg shared information earlier in May suggesting that Chinese authorities are in favour of strengthening the local casino market with new licences. After Bloomberg’s report, Macau’s casino stocks tumbled during that weekend, with Sands China and MGM Holdings dropping 6 per cent and Wynn Macau falling 6.7 per cent.