Merger Of Two Betting Pools In Hong Kong Horse Racing Lead To Revenue Increase
After more than six years of Jockey Club lobbying, the Hong Kong Home Affairs Bureau Wednesday "backed the two-way combining of betting pools with foreign jurisdictions, allowing overseas punters access to the larger and more attractive pools here," according to Alan Aitken of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. The system, known as "commingling," would mean a boost of HK$200M ($25.8M) a year in revenue for the government on top of more than HK$10B ($1.3B) it currently receives in duty from the Jockey Club. The Betting Duty Bill "will be put to the Legislative Council in the second quarter of this year," with the new set-up to start in time for the '13-14 season in September. The countries that now wager on Hong Kong races pay the Jockey Club a 3% fee on holdings. Jockey Club officials said that these small, localized holdings total HK$3B ($387M) to HK$4B ($516M) a year globally. This figure "would at least double if the same bets were commingled into the larger pools here" (SCMP, 2/7).