China won't allow gambling or horse-racing in Hainan: paper

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will not allow gambling or horse-racing in the southern province of Hainan, a newspaper controlled by the provincial government reported on Wednesday, citing comments from Hainan’s communist party chief.

China on Tuesday granted Hainan free trade zone status, vowing to ease restrictions on foreign investment on the island in sector from agriculture to medical services.

“Some online comments about opening casinos, allowing gambling and horse-racing, or copy from capitalism and adopt overall private ownership, are divorced from China’s reality and (they are) resolutely not allowed,” Liu Cigui was quoted as saying by the Hainan Daily.

Bloomberg reported in February that China was considering allowing sports betting or a lottery on Hainan in a move that could open the door to casinos. The former Portuguese territory of Macau is currently the only place on Chinese soil where casino gambling is permitted.

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Nick Macfie