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Hong Kong Jockey Club asks gov’t for more betting options to be allowed

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The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) has proposed to the SAR government that it should be allowed to introduce new betting options in its operations to counteract the rise of illegal bookmakers.

According to The Standard, this proposal, made ahead of Wednesday’s budget announcement, aims to address the increasing activity of illegal gambling in recent years, emphasizing the need for the HKJC to enhance its competitiveness and operational flexibility.

The HKJC suggests that one strategy to tackle illegal gambling is to offer new gambling options that would redirect demand from illegal off-course betting to legal channels.

This, the club believes, would assist the government in its efforts to combat illegal gambling activities, which reportedly generate over HK$15 billion ($1.9 billion) annually from Hong Kong residents, offering a wide range of gambling activities such as basketball, tennis, and football.

In response, the Home and Youth Affairs Bureau acknowledged the need to regulate gambling activities while addressing associated social issues, despite not encouraging gambling.

However, any decision on this matter may not be included in Wednesday’s budget delivery, as the bureau will require time to study and consult on the HKJC’s request.

The HKJC generated record turnover during the 2022/2023 season, some HK$304.8 billion ($38.9 billion).

Speaking to AGB last year, a Hong Kong legislator proposed introducing new betting sports in the SAR, including NBA and F1, expanding the football betting licenses and implementing a higher tax on the HKJC’s betting activities.

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