The Chinese island of Hainan will not be allowing horse racing anytime soon. For years, the local government here has considered allowing this popular sporting event despite Chinese law preventing all forms of gambling. Hainan horse racing plans are still on the table, yet the government remains skeptical.
Legalizing horse race betting in Hainan isn’t going to be easy. Let’s take a look at why Hainan wants horse racing and the likelihood of it being allowed here.
Nearly all forms of gambling are completely illegal inside China. Only the territories of Macau and Hong Kong allow certain gambling activities. Mainland China has been fiercely against gambling and has shown no signs of changing this anytime soon.
The same laws here apply to online gambling. China does not allow any internet gambling sites to legally operate inside the country. The government here has implemented measures that completely restrict foreign gambling websites from reaching Chinese citizens.
Punishments for gambling here are severe. Anyone caught gambling or operating a gambling establishment face heavy fines or jail time. Despite this, millions of people in China still choose to casually gamble under the table.
The economy in China has been slowing down considerably over the years, and a move to legalize and regulate could bring in some much-needed revenue. Legalized horse racing is an experiment the Chinese government could look into. Let’s take a look at why these plans have stalled.
As we mentioned earlier, the government of mainland China does not allow any forms of gambling. Legalized horse race betting would be the first of its kind. Government officials in Hainan are arguing that horse racing isn’t really gambling, and should be allowed inside the province.
Mao Chaofeng, Deputy Governor of the Hainan province, told the media this week that “complications” have arisen in trying to legalize horse racing.
“Horse racing in Hainan is not gambling. Our bottom line is that Hainan will not allow [criminal activities] involving prostitution, gambling or drugs,” he said. “Any person who sees our plan to develop horse racing as a kind of gambling is totally mistaken.”
Mao has stated that Hainan will not be releasing any guidelines on the development plans for legalized horse racing. Mao clearly understands that the Chinese government is unlikely to permit any form of gambling without specific plans and regulations in place. For now, it looks like Hainan horse racing will not be permitted by the end of 2019.
China may not allow gambling, yet the territory of Macau has long been the most successful gambling hub in the world. Unfortunately, revenue in Macau has fallen dramatically with the slowdown of the Chinese economy. The government took notice and has recently called on Macau to increase regulations to help its economy grow outside the gaming industry.
China’s government is certainly feeling the impact of a slowing economy. There’s a chance that a liberalization of gambling laws could take place in order for the country to begin earning more money. If that does happen, Hainan could see its plans for horse racing approved.
For now, Hainan seems wary of releasing too much information on the plans to legalize horse racing. Allowing this could point to a bright future for China’s gambling industry.
Do you think we’ll see Hainan horse racing sometime in the near future? Will China ever open up its online gambling industry? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
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