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Volume 7 No. 47

Finance

China's recent approval of horse racing in Hainan could lead to gaming on the mainland.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

China said that it "would encourage horse racing and expand sports lotteries in the southernmost island of Hainan," moves that people familiar with the discussions have said "may eventually open the door to gaming on the nation's mainland for the first time," according to Wei & Zhai of BLOOMBERG. China will support the development of horse racing and other projects including beach and water sports in Hainan, according to a reform agenda approved by China's cabinet. The province should also "explore the development of sports lottery and instant lottery on large-scale international games," it said, without elaborating. Any shift in China's approach toward gambling could end up "threatening" the $33B casino industry in Macau -- the world's largest gaming center -- as well as other casino hubs in Asia. Business group China Lottery Industry Salon Chair Su Guojing said, "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. 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" (BLOOMBERG, 4/14).

The Gaelic Athletic Association is "set to pump" £1M ($1.42M) into Belfast in a bid to increase Gaelic Games participation in the second largest city in Ireland, according to RTÉ. The proportion of school children playing Gaelic football or hurling is "as low as 6% in the city." Belfast has a "thriving club scene" but, given its population of over 600,000, Antrim has "long punched below its weight at national level." It is hoped that this investment over five years will "help the county team" as well as "boost numbers at grassroots level." The initiative, branded Gaelfast, was launched in Belfast on Friday by GAA President John Horan. This represents the "biggest ever non-capital initiative by the GAA in the North, and will place coaches in schools across the city" (RTÉ, 4/13).