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31 July


Horse racing and gambling were stopped again in Hainan

Province’s deputy governor said that the sport’s planned development won’t happen this year

Photo: SCMP

/NOVOSTIVL/ Hainan, China’s latest free-trade zone, will not introduce its plan to develop horse racing on the island this year because of “complications”. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post.

“Horse racing in Hainan is not gambling. Our bottom line is that Hainan will not allow (criminal activities) involving prostitution, gambling or drugs,” Mao Chaofeng, a deputy governor of Hainan province, said on Saturday as he attended Beijing’s annual parliamentary sessions, the National People’s Congress, as a delegate. “Any person who sees our plan to develop horse racing as a kind of gambling is totally mistaken.”

Although the Chinese government does not consider lotteries to be a form of gambling, other forms of wagering are illegal on the mainland, and casinos are banned. The possibility of allowing betting on horse racing on Hainan would be the first of its kind.

Mao’s emphasis that there would be no gambling on horse racing in Hainan largely sticks to the local government’s official line, in place since the possibility was raised after Beijing announced plans last April to develop horse racing and sports lotteries on the island.

Speculation that Hainan would be given special privileges to experiment with horse racing and the associated betting business had raised hopes among those who argued that the island’s economy would need a special boost amid China’s economic slowdown.