Hainan racing, lottery to get bump


Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - Page 10

China said it would encourage horse racing and expand sports lotteries in Hainan, according to a reform agenda approved by the nation’s Cabinet and announced by Xinhua on Saturday, moves that might eventually open the door to gaming on the nation’s mainland.

The province should also “explore the development of sports lottery and instant lottery on large-scale international games,” it said.

While the government bans all forms of gambling, it officially allows two types of lotteries, including one in which players predict the outcomes of international soccer matches. It also permits some horse racing, although betting is banned.

“Horse racing has grown quickly in China in recent years, but it’s the first time the central government has promoted the game for a city and simultaneously encouraged further development of sports lottery,” China Lottery Industry Salon chairman Su Guojing said. “Although it still takes time to explore, Hainan may try to launch a lottery for more sporting events, including horse racing and rowing, to help boost Hainan’s tourism.”

In February, Bloomberg reported that government agencies under a party reform group headed by Chinese President Xi Jinping were considering proposals to support the island, including allowing online gaming and a lottery, relaxing visa rules and enhancing infrastructure.

The proposal could one day open the door to physical casinos, which are banned on the mainland, people familiar with the talks said.