By Tom Bannister
Over the weekend we reported on Hainan’s cashless casino; what appeared to be a government approved pilot-project aimed at exploring the legalisation of gambling outside of Macau. Now, after media reports drew attention to the bar, it appears that it was not so government-approved after all.
Reuters, who broke the original story, now reports that the bar was closed down on Tuesday because it was operating outside of its licensing agreement. Their report quotes local Sanya official Chen Guangfa as saying:
“We have shut the entertainment bar … We are investigating it and so far it looks like they have violated their operating regulations.”
“When we approved it, the regulations and the certificate said its operations would be entertainment in nature, but inside the bar there are some games and they’ve gone beyond the scope of the regulations, so we closed it down“
The bar is called Jesters and is part of the newly opened Mangrove Tree Resort World in the resort town of Sanya. A representative of the resort said that it was closed because of an ‘air-conditioning fault’ and declined to comment further.
The initial report said that the bar was offering ‘cashless gambling’, where hotel guests could win credits that they could then spend within the hotel complex. The owner of the resort, entrepreneur Zhang Baoquan, had told reporters that the government were aware of the pilot: “Our casino bar is the first in the country. The government is monitoring, it’s a test.”
Now it appears that this ‘monitoring’ has resulted in it being both the first and, for the time being, last casino bar in the country.