Hainan could get the mainland’s first casino, according to English-language newspaper Business Daily, quoting Hoffman Ma Ho Man, an investor in Macau’s Ponte 16 casino hotel resort.

Mr Ma is deputy chairman of Hong Kong-listed Success Universe Group, which owns a 49-percent stake of Ponte 16, a joint venture with SJM Holdings Ltd.

Mr Ma admits he has a commercial interest in talking up Hainan’s gaming prospects as he would like to bid to operate a casino there if the opportunity arises.

According to Mr Ma, Hainan has approval in principle from the central government for a casino.

"A condition of getting the casino licence is that the central government will not support Hainan [financially]. It gives RMB30 billion [MOP37.85 billion] to RMB40 billion to Hainan per year. So Hainan would need to survive by getting the tax from the gaming,” Mr Ma was quoted as saying.

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