|Hong Kong stands to lose out on the opportunity to earn tax on HK$150 billion (US$19.2 billion) if blanket legislation outlaws offshore sports betting, according to Britain’s largest bookmaker. |
Victor Chandler Worldwide said the actual amount lost to illegal sports betting was probably closer to that figure than the HK$83 billion (US$11 billion) estimated by the Jockey Club.
If passed by the Legislative Council, the new Gambling Ordinance will outlaw all forms of offshore sports betting.
Chief executive Michael Carlton called the current proposal “the worst of all possible solutions” and “a charter for triads,” if the “massive demand” forces sports betting underground. “Some 300,000 people intend to bet on this summer's World Cup, and the only options they will have when the law is amended will be to bet with illegal bookmakers, or not to bet at all.” Nevertheless, Carlton says his betting firm recognizes the proposed amendments would probably be passed.
Carlton said legislation that allowed a small number of licensed operators would provide a secure environment for Hong Kong punters and provide new tax revenue.