Analysts in the gaming industry have told officials in Macau not to worry about China backing sports lotteries, horse racing and other developments on the island of Hainan.
The Chinese central government in an official release last Saturday, declared its intention to make the free trade zone on Hainan more developed by 2035. This includes creating a horse racing industry and the expansion of regulated lotteries.
However, the International brokerage Union of Gaming thinks this development in Hainan would not have any strong impact on Macau and the gaming and sports lotteries there. With the exception of some small lotteries, all other forms of gambling in China are illegal due to the country’s anti-corruption campaign.
According to Grant Govertsen, an analyst at the Union Gaming, it is unlikely China will do a wholesale legalisation of casinos within the country due to its anti corruption campaign.
Goversten stated on Sunday that even though the government seeks to develop the horse racing industry in Hainan, it would not be an instant rival to Hong Kong. Horse racing has seen massive development in other parts of China.
He added that, in the unlikely event that casinos are legalised in Hainan, it might not have any strong impact on the six concessionaries of Macau. This is because Macau customers will still find gambling in that enclave more convenient than in Hainan. Also, the official announcement from Beijing made no mention of allowing gambling and casinos.
An official of Macau has also downplayed any effect of the announcement on its business. The company remains resolute and ready to compete with rival any competitor from Hainan.
In a report by the public broadcaster TDM, the Secretary for Economy and Finance of Macau, Lionel Leong Vai Tac said:
“We always pay attention to policies [enacted] in different regions regarding the development of the gaming industry; assessing how the situation evolves,” he said.