Irritating betting rule

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 May, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 May, 1996, 12:00am

Perhaps the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club would like to shed some light on what appears to be one of its latest moves to 'improve' customer service.

As a regular telebet subscriber, I have called the 2695533 number all season and have successfully placed my bets.

However, at the meeting on April 28, having called this number minutes prior to the start of the seventh race, given my account number and access code plus making all my bets, I was informed that I should have called 1883, which was described as being the club's English-speaking telebet service.

Despite frantic dialling, I couldn't get through. The number was constantly engaged for the three to four minutes left before the off.

Having learnt from my mistakes, I decided to call 1883 10 minutes prior to the start of the next race. Same problem. The number was engaged.

When I finally managed to get through and had given my account number and access code, I had to deal with a telephone operator suffering from a fit of the giggles.

By the time they had subsided, so had my bets.

The horses were off and running along with what should have been six winning bets.

At the meeting on May 4, I called 26955333 and placed all my exotic bets.

No one mentioned anything about calling the 'English-speaking telebet service'.

However, after Race 5, the request/rule to call 1883 suddenly came into effect.

Though I managed to get through to bet on the last race-and lost, two winning bets bit the dust due to the dreaded curse of the engaged tones.

True, rules are rules. But surely a highly professional organisation like the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club should ensure punters that its rules are there for one purpose: To work. Not to become some amateurish irritant factor.