|Hong Kong’s Jockey Club wants to see offshore Internet gambling companies banned, as it threatens to undermine its monopoly on horserace betting, according to thoroughbredtimes.com. |
Whether the Jockey Club will get what it wants remains to be seen: Andrew Cheng, Chairman of the Bills Committee on Gambling questioned the urgency of such legislation, in light of an ongoing review of Hong Kong’s gambling laws, which is due to be completed within the next year. Minutes of the the Bills Committee on Gambling’s December 7 meeting reflect other concerns over the enforceability and scope of the proposed amendment.
The minutes read: 'The chairman, Mr. Sin Chung-kai, and Mr. James To expressed reservations that the scope of the bill was too wide. They considered that the bill would impose restrictions on the satisfaction of human desire and have substantial impact on individual freedom.'
An example of the how offshore gambling is undercutting officially sanctioned gambling is shown by the case of an illegal bookie who recently told BusinessWeek that he made $602,000 from a year of gambling 'arbitrage' after playing off the difference between the fixed-odds wagering offered by offshore Internet gambling sites and the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s betting odds.
The Government received $1.5 billion in 1999-2000 from betting turnover of more than $10-billion and $1.6-billion in 2000-’01 from the betting duty program, which includes a network of 124 off-track betting facilities.