The so-called denial of service attack is a regular fact of life in the cyber world of 2011, and our spies tell us gremlins have been targeting the betting exchanges around the Asian region which have had such an impact on Hong Kong turnover in the past year and more.
These are sites like AA Star exchange, the biggest of them, which operates illegally on Hong Kong races and has been holding as much as the Jockey Club's legal avenues. It provides players with the facility to bet on a horse winning or losing but pays out on Hong Kong's declared dividends and offers losing rebates just like those offered here legally.
It is difficult to ascertain the true state of these exchanges, but we have suspected much of the late price crunching here last season was a result of illegal offshore bookmakers working through the exchanges and then reducing their payout obligations with late, large bet-backs into Hong Kong pools to drive down the odds.
Those big brown-light 'God Of Lamp' bets, particularly on favourite horses last season, had no respect for price, thus our conclusion that these were bets designed to reconfigure bottom line payouts more than just to back winners.
The grapevine now carries tales of denial of service cyber attacks directed against AA Star, which have crashed the exchange site, shutting it down and reducing their handle by as much as 70 per cent. Curiously, these system crashes seem to occur only in concert with Hong Kong race days.
Perhaps their platform simply cannot handle the volume, and the suspicion of cyber attacks is fanciful, or perhaps there are other reasons why this happy coincidence has been taking place.
Certainly the Jockey Club's own turnover has not suffered from the lower frequency of late, brown-light dumps of betback money - in fact, it is continuing to surge ahead year on year at each meeting.
Perhaps this illegal turnover, unable to get set on the exchange, is migrating back into the legal pool anyway, but in a larger and more orderly fashion instead of in one big bomb in the final minutes of betting.
The percentage by which alleged cyber attacks have reduced the handling of bets by the AA Star exchange website