|“Hopes of legalising football gambling in time for this summer's World Cup are fading fast, as two government reports released last week show the Hong Kong public divided over whether to legalize soccer betting.|
The public consultation study, conducted from last June to October, showed that around 90% of the 7,000 written submissions and 83,000 signatures received were against the idea of legalising football gambling.
However, three government-commissioned polls, conducted around the same period, revealed that up to 60% of respondents supported the idea.
The report on the consultation study and polls said the general public agreed soccer betting was widespread in Hong Kong and simply tightening legislation and stepping up police operations would not tackle the problem. But there is a split in public opinion as to whether soccer betting should be legalized.
A government source said that annual revenue from soccer betting could be between $300 million to $800 million.
“We need more time to assess carefully whether we should regulate soccer betting,” a Home Affairs Bureau spokesman added.