After significant peace talks during Friday and Saturday, Hong Kong racing will continue to be shown via the Racing.com platform in Australia until the end of the current season, but under unspecified revised terms.
Yesterday’s decision to continue the relationship was followed by a brief statement from Jockey Club executive director, marketing and customer management, Richard Cheung Che-kit, containing no detail about what concessions may have been made on either side to constitute the revised terms of the agreement.
“After discussions with Racing.com following their initial broadcast of Hong Kong racing, and, in the spirit of cooperation, our position of no association with fixed odds on Hong Kong racing has been clarified,” Cheung said. “Hence our races will appear across their distribution platform.”
The deal to show Hong Kong through the 24-hour digital joint venture between racing authorities in the Australian state of Victoria and major broadcaster, Seven West Media was on the rocks after the first airing on Wednesday night saw extensive promotion of the channel’s bookmaking partner, CrownBet. Like many other overseas bookmakers, CrownBet offers fixed odds betting on Hong Kong racing without the permission of the Jockey Club but Cheung said last week that the club had been promised a “clean feed” without promotion of fixed odds operators.
The purpose of the additional telecasting with Racing.com – Hong Kong races are already shown by racing telecaster Sky Channel – was to extend the reach and improve the service of the Hong Kong telecasts, with a view to improving turnover in commingled bets, which are wagered by Australians through TABCorp, the owner of Sky Channel.
The club receives no return from bets placed with CrownBet but commingled bets with TABCorp are relayed to the Hong Kong totalisator pools.
Sky Channel blocked Hong Kong from being shown on one Racing.com platform on Wednesday night and Hong Kong Jockey Club officials were upset at the heavy promotion of CrownBet’s fixed odds on the remaining viewing platforms, at the expense of promoting commingling, saying that it was “a violation of our interests and a violation of the spirit of this agreement.”
On Thursday night, it seemed certain an immediate termination of the relationship would take place but Racing Victoria chairman David Moodie reportedly intervened with a special pleading to ensure the telecasts continue for the nine meetings remaining in the current season. The Post understands that further discussions will then take place between the two sides before the start of the 2016-17 season to firm up expectations and requirements on both sides.