Allowing Jockey Club to get into commingling of bets is a sure-fire winner

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 September, 2011, 12:00am


In the front page story in the Sunday Morning Post, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the CEO of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said that unless the Hong Kong government approved the commingling of bets, the club might be forced to set up an offshore satellite wagering operation to circumvent double taxation if it is to take part in overseas betting pools ('Jockey Club mulls offshore betting move', September 4).

It had me wondering why the club keeps coming up against the same brick wall. In the same edition Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges gave a clear argument as to how much Hong Kong can gain by the commingling of bets and what the city and the public stand to lose to illegal and offshore bookmakers if this is not approved ('An experience like no other').

It is a total no-brainer, yet, for whatever reason, there are always road blocks preventing this from happening. But why?

Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen is a well-known racehorse owner and often our chief executive and financial secretary are seen waving to the crowds at Sha Tin Racecourse when they make their appearances for events like the Chief Executive's Cup and the National Day race meeting.

Surely this shows their support for horse racing and for the Jockey Club, which happens to be Hong Kong's biggest taxpayer?

So, who in the government is saying 'No' to one of the greatest certainties in horse racing and where the sure-fire winner will be all of Hong Kong? As Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges says, through its quota of simulcasts of overseas races alone the government has benefited by more than HK$150 million.

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to realise how much all of Hong Kong will benefit from commingling.

Patrick Chow, North Point