Chinese property developers are investing heavily in overseas gaming projects, including South Korea and Australia, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Friday.
Their investments are welcome in these countries, which are trying to build new projects to attract big-spending Chinese tourists and gamblers, the report said.
In February, Landing International Development Ltd. (00852.HK) and Genting Singapore Plc formed a joint venture to build a US$2.2 billion gaming resort with 800 tables on Jeju Island in South Korea. Construction is expected to begin in June.
South Korea in April approved a large-scale casino project exclusive for foreigners near the Incheon International Airport. A consortium that includes Las Vegas-based Caesars, Singapore’s OUE Ltd. and Hong Kong-based Lippo Ltd. (00226.HK) will build the project.
In Australia, authorities in May shortlisted Chinese state-owned Greenland Group and the Far East Consortium/Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Cheng Yu-tung, among bidders for casino licenses in Brisbane.
Also in Australia, Aquis Casino Acquisitions Ltd., controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung and his son Justin, plans to build a US$7.40 billion casino near Cairns, while state-backed ASF China Property Consortium will build a US$7.05 casino and cruise ship terminal at the Gold Coast in Queensland, according to the newspaper.
Legal experts are divided on whether Chinese enterprises can invest in gambling facilities without violating China’s law against gambling. Operating gambling facilities is a crime in China, although it is not very clear whether Chinese companies are committing a criminal offense if they invest in overseas casinos, the report said.
At present, large amounts of such investments go to illegal casinos, even as many businessmen have reportedly been victimized in fraudulent deals on gaming facilities, it added.
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