|Desperate to find alternative cash revenue the Hong Kong government is to legalise gambling on soccer matches. Two recessions in four years have left Hong Kong with an enormous budget deficit.|
An estimated $10 billion a year is gambled illegally on soccer matches. Most of this money provides funds for the Hong Kong criminal element. Home Affairs Secretary, Patrick Ho: 'Illegal soccer gambling is invariably associated with other illegal activities, such as loan sharking....It is also one of the major sources of funding for organised and serious criminal activities.'
Though unlikely to dramatically close the budget deficit and despite strong objections from some religious and community groups the chamber of legislature is not expected to prevent approval of the plan.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club is the likely candidate to control the operation of regulation. The club already manages the only two current forms of gambling: horseracing and lotteries.
As Kitty Lo, a marketing executive in the territory says: 'It's the correct thing to do. Instead of driving it underground and not being able to control it, why not legalise it and make rules? It brings in money, too,' echoing the views of many people in the territory.