Jockey Club expects $30b in soccer gambling
More than $30 billion will be wagered on soccer through the Jockey Club this year, its chairman said yesterday, a day after police smashed a $100 million World Cup betting racket in Macau.
Hong Kong Jockey Club chairman Ronald Arculli estimated that up to 85 per cent of the club's soccer bets would come from punters who used to place bets with illegal gambling syndicates before the club began taking soccer bets.
'We estimate that 80 or 85 per cent were originally from the [illegal gambling] syndicates,' Mr Arcullu said.
'Bear in mind that we did not have soccer gambling until three years ago. For the first year we ran soccer gambling, the bets made with us were $16 billion and we believe the total amount for this year is more than $30 billion.'
The chairman also said he believed the police would crack down harder on illegal soccer gambling.
He was speaking after attending Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Day at Sha Tin racecourse.
On Saturday, Macau raided a soccer betting racket operated by a Hong Kong triad gang and $100 million in betting slips were seized. Macau police said seven men - a Hong Kong man, a Macau man, and five mainland men - were arrested.
Most of those arrested had university degrees in accounting, computer science and economics. The officers believed the syndicate hired such experts to increase profits.
They also found that the racket had made a profit of more than $3 million since the opening of the World Cup on June 9.
Commissioner of Police Dick Lee Ming-kwai said the Hong Kong police also helped in the Macau operation.
'Many of the soccer rackets in Hong Kong have already moved out to other places, including Macau, after our relentless efforts to tackle them. We now work with enforcement officers in other places to deal with the gambling ring,' he said.
His department had arrested about 100 people for illegal soccer gambling with bets amounting to $50 million in about 50 operations over the past two weeks.