Season turnover

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 July, 2007, 12:00am

The opening day saw a sunny return to form for betting turnover and while the increase of day one was unsustainable, the final analysis made the season a qualified success.

Almost HK$64 billion in racing turnover, up 6.6 per cent, the figure were back in black after off-season passage of legislation to restructure the Jockey Club's taxation.

A successful implementation of a rebate system followed for tickets in the four main pools carrying a total value of HK$10,000, targeting larger punters said to frequent the illegal market where rebates abound.

Whether that was the market annexed will remain a mystery but it was a fillip for betting in the only form that met legislative approval.

The club declared a rise of 11.4 per cent on opening day, after excluding a Triple Trio jackpot from the previous season's figure, and estimates varied but forecasts of plus 10 or 15 per cent for the season were seen as reasonable. In the end, 6.6 per cent was sound.

Coming off years of falling numbers, including 4.3 per cent in 2005-06, the reality was that any increase was good but the big ticket rebate is still short of perfect.

And 6.6 per cent won't pay the bills unless it continues. That 10 per cent rebate comes out of Jockey Club revenues and, with the club guaranteeing the government its slice, there was HK$118m to find once everyone got paid.

But it is a start and gives the club the chance to build the kind of inertia which had been operating in the negative for nine years, if it can work on expanding access.

Ahead of us is the blue sky of international commingling with promises of multimillion-dollar turnover inflows from fresh sources, though this particular harvest may take longer to bear fruit than appears the general expectation.

Also ahead is the announcement of changes to existing bet types, including the Triple Trio.