China Supports Horse Racing in Hainan, Legalized Gambling Could be Next

By Bridget O'Donnell, April 23, 2018

1 0

China recently unveiled a series of new policies aimed at giving a major economic boost to Hainan, AKA 'China's Hawaii.'

On the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Hainan province, government leaders announced that the entire tropical island would become a pilot international free-trade zone.

According to the official plan, Hainan is set to develop a fully mature free trade port system by 2035, with multinantional companies and foreign investors being encouraged to establish businesses on the island. In response to the news, stocks for Hainan-listed shares soared — especially those in the tourism and property sectors.

Hainan
Hainan. Image via Flickr

Among some of the other announced reforms aimed at opening up Hainan's economy include improved duty-free shopping policies, an increase in international flights and other measures prioritizing the island's travel sector, according to Bloomberg. The agriculture, technology, finance, sports and entertainment industries are also expected to benefit from the policies.

To help the island become a major international tourist destination, China will also support horse racing and other recreational projects such as beach and water sports. The island was further advised to "explore the development of a sports betting and instant lottery on large-scale international competitions," according to somewhat vague guidelines released by the government.

Many experts have speculated that the decision to support horse racing could be the gateway for legalizing gambling on the Chinese mainland. 

Macau
Gambling is only legal in Macau. Image via Flickr

Gambling and casinos are both currently banned everywhere except Macau, but some types of sports lotteries are still allowed. Horse racing without betting is also permitted, though the activity has never officially been supported by the government. 

China has set an ambitious target of 80 million tourists (including 1.2 million international visitors) to the island by 2020. A new visa-free policy for visitors from 59 countries is set to go into effect on May 1, 2018.

[Top image via Flickr]

more news

*Some* Hainan Tourists Allowed to Leave the Island

I'm an expat, get me out of here!

Zero COVID Cases for a Week, 3+4 Quarantine for Sanya Returnees

The numbers come as Shanghai emerges from China's biggest citywide lockdown since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

Typhoon Mulan Heading for Guangdong and Hainan

Typhoon Mulan is heading towards Guangdong and Hainan.

Sanya COVID Lockdown – Here's What We Know So Far

Looks like we could be in for the long haul.

80,000 Tourists Stranded as Sanya Imposes Lockdown

The move comes during the city's peak tourist season.

Sanya COVID Lockdown Measures: 5 Things You Need to Know

Lockdown measures are imposed in parts of the city, as of today (August 4, 2022).

What Domestic Travel Trends Will China See this Summer Holiday?

China's peak travel season over the summer holidays is upon us.

Hainan Economy Down 2.5% in Second Quarter

Visitors stayed away due to lockdowns or concerns about possible travel restrictions.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at thatsonline for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in China With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Subscribe

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Magazines!

Visit the archives