Macau (MNA) – There is no intention on the part of Chinese authorities to legalize gaming in Hainan, a note from Union Gaming stated late Sunday.
Union Gaming released the note after Beijing announced a list of policies designed to boost the economy of Hainan, a province of China located 300 miles southwest of the Macau SAR in the South China Sea.
Union Gaming stated that ‘gaming’ is not at all the centre of China’s policies for developing Hainan, which should be seen more as incentives for setting ‘a free port concept within a special economic zone.’
‘The policy in no way approves anything remotely close to casinos, nor does it even suggest this is a future possibility,’ wrote the investment bank.
The only gaming-evoking aspects referred by the extensive list of policies are the suggestion for the development of horse racing – with no reference however to betting – and a recommendation for the study of an international-style lottery, to be ‘explored’ rather than ‘developed.’
With the exception of claims from the owner of a former casino in a resort in Sanya beach who opened briefly in 2012, before being raided and closed by the government twice, ‘no government officials, nor owners of other resorts in Hainan,’ have made such comments as to green light casinos in Hainan.
‘Conversations we’ve had with owners of other resorts would suggest there are zero expectations for casinos to come to Hainan,’ said Union Gaming in its note.
While claiming that the legalization of casinos within China remains ‘highly unlikely,’ the investment bank pointed out that in the case of a ‘black swan scenario’ in which casinos are legalized in Hainan, it believes the impact to the city would be ‘negligible.’
To Union Gaming, the primary risk would remain within the VIP segment, although only limited, for any likely expansion in Hainan would be capped at one or two casinos.