Thursday, July 04, 2013
Commingling - an important step forward for Hong Kong racing

CEO Blog from Hong Kong Jockey Club Executive Director Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges

Yesterday was a special day for the Club and an important milestone for racing development in Hong Kong.  The Legislative Council passed a law amendment bill on the Betting Duty Ordinance, which has given us the green light to set up two-way commingled pools with our partner jurisdictions overseas. 

The Club was in fact the first party, back in 2007, to raise the concept of commingled pools to our global racing counterparts during that year’s Asian Racing Conference in Dubai.  It has since become the preferred direction of development in world racing in recent years, highlighted by the considerable successes of collaborations among Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa.  With the sport becoming increasingly globalised in recent years, the passage of the bill is important to Hong Kong that it will not be left behind in this worldwide trend and this legislation strengthens our position at the fore of world racing.

Importantly, having commingled pools in place will allow us to work together with overseas racing jurisdictions to combat those illicit groups that conduct odds arbitrage activities on local or simulcast races.  This is in line with our long-time goal to help ensure the healthy and sustainable development of our sport, through the concerted efforts made by the Club and the government, for the benefit of the local community.   This fight against illegal betting and bookmaking activities, together with our guaranteed betting duty to the government on non-local simulcast races – maintains our key role as a stable major tax income source to the public coffer and the government.

In the meantime, this will serve as an opportunity for us to help export Hong Kong’s racing brand and our premier racing products to overseas racing fans.  With the bill now being passed, our team will work hard on further implementation proceedings and will discuss with our overseas partners.  We hope related measures and new arrangements for commingling will be in effect as the new racing season starts in September.

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