New booking system for sports facilities to discourage touts

Peak-hours users will be able to book only one venue a day, to discourage touts

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 March, 2014, 3:15am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 March, 2014, 3:15am

The government has further tightened booking rules for leisure and sports facilities in its effort to combat abuse and online touting.

In peak hours from April 3, users will be able to book a particular type of facility at only one venue in a day.

At present, a user can book the same type of facility - for example tennis courts at Victoria Park and Shek Kip Mei - at more than one venue per day through the department's online Leisure Link system.

The time quotas of two hours in peak hours and four hours off-peak remain unchanged. Off-peak, multiple bookings in a day will still be possible.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department said yesterday the change had been made in response to recommendations in 2012 from the Ombudsman which found in an investigation that many bookings were not used or were offered for resale on the internet.

The changes were being introduced "with a view to preventing hirers from gaining benefits by making numerous peak-time bookings on the same day at different venues," the department said.

"If an individual has already booked a two-hour session at a Victoria Park tennis court during peak times, he or she will not be able to book another peak-hour session for a tennis court [anywhere] on the same day."

The rule will apply to bookings made from March 25 for use on or after April 3.

The department said facilities affected by the revised system were the more popular ones including badminton courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, tennis courts, table tennis tables and activity rooms. Those with spare capacity at peak hours will not be affected.