Macau punters place their first bets on HK races

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 January, 2005, 12:00am

The first day of betting in Macau - on horse races in Hong Kong - proved to be a yawn, despite speculation last year that punters' response would be enormous.

With government approval granted last week, Macau Jockey Club outlets in Macau accepted wagers for win, place, quinella and quinella place, on Hong Kong races.

But the $10,254,220 wagered was a tiny part of the day's $900 million betting turnover, and a lukewarm start for the idea after much larger figures had been bandied around.

In April last year, casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun had predicted turnover of $100 million a day for the Macau end of the operation. But while yesterday's numbers were well short of that, no disappointment was apparent.

'This was just the first day, and like anything else, we would expect that the figures will improve as people in Macau become used to it,' said Wilson Cheng, a spokesman for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, adding that operations were trouble-free.

Mr Cheng said the club anticipated Macau residents would take more notice of the new betting opportunity once they familiarised themselves with the style and form of Hong Kong racing.