8th of February 2013 Author: Johnny Karp
The Home Affairs Bureau in Hong Kong has finally approved the two-way combining of betting pools with foreign jurisdictions, allowing overseas punters access to the pools. The Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill will be put to the Legislative Council in Q2-2013, with implementation starting in the 2013-14 racing season in September.
For the past six years the Hong Kong Jockey Club has been lobbying for the change, and now expects that the new arrangement will at least double the revenues of its 3 percent fee on holdings, currently worth between HK3 andHK4 million dollars.
The new commingling system would mean a boost of HK$200 million a year in revenue for the government on top of more than HK$10 billion it currently receives in duty from the Jockey Club.
For example, punters in Australia can at present bet on Hong Kong races, but their money goes into a small Australian pool, but under a commingling agreement Aussie betting operators would send their bets to larger and more attractive pools in Hong Kong or other jurisdictions.
In order to facilitate outbound commingling, the Jockey Club proposed and the government accepted to apply a flat betting rate at 72.5 percent on receipts of local bets on non-local races.
In a comment on the new development in the matter, Carmen Lok Wai-man, a Jockey club spokesperson, said: "Commingling has become an internationally adopted industry practice that enables regulated operators to work together to counter the threats posed by illegal bookmakers and junket operators."
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