China says no casinos for resort island Hainan

China says no casinos for resort island Hainan

Thu, Mar 6 2014

HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s balmy holiday island of Hainan, long touted as a place where the country could liberalise gambling, will not permit casinos, senior officials announced this week.

The decision may dampen investment appetite from scores of international and national developers betting on stellar profits in the southern province.

Luo Baoming, Hainan’s Communist Party chief, and Wang Yong, the mayor of resort city Sanya, told a briefing at China’s annual parliamentary meeting on Thursday that casinos will never be allowed to operate there.

“We cannot at all allow Hainan to operate casinos,” Luo said according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Casino gambling is illegal in China outside of the former Portuguese colony of Macau, an hour’s flight from Hainan by plane. In 2013, the local government on Hainan shut down a casino bar that had been operating illegally after a Reuters report drew attention to it.

Hainan has attracted scores of international developers in the past two years, including InterContinental Hotels Group Plc, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, and casino operators MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment, who are eyeing a surge in upscale tourism in the country.

Sanya already has more than 200 hotels and an aggressive pipeline for future developments with many operators eyeing the potential for future casino liberalization.

Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd and Sol Kerzner, South Africa’s Sun City casino king, in October announced plans to build a $1.6 billion Atlantis resort at Haitang Bay, a 22 kilometer strip of white sand that will see the development of 30 five-star hotels in the next five years.

Across Asia, from the Philippines to South Korea, countries are building large scale casino resorts to spur growth and increase tourism revenues after the success of Macau and Singapore.

Sanya’s coastal location, which boasts cleaner air and ample space, has been a huge draw for domestic tourists with more than 22 million overnight stays registered in Hainan in the first eight months of 2013.

(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Matt Driskill)

 

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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