Taipa bookies out of action

Robin Parke

BOOKMAKERS have disappeared from the Taipa complex of the Macau Jockey Club - for the time being, at least.

The quasi-legal operators who used to function on the fourth floor of the racecourse have not been in action for the past three weeks.

And most MJC officials are quietly pleased that the totalisator turnover has stayed at levels attained when bookmakers were still ''laying off'' on the tote.

Since their departure, although it is not guaranteed that the bookmakers have gone for good, the MJC's Telebet operation has shown a healthy increase.

Director of Racing, Peter Smiles, said yesterday: ''We had a record Telebet turnover for Sunday's meeting and that was excellent.

''We were doing between $20 million and $24 million before the bookmakers stopped betting and we are still stable around those figures.'' Information officer Paul Chan said that the bookmaking problem was on-going.

''It is not that simple. We have known for a long time that we have had a problem in this area and we are concentrating on solving it.

''We have had some success and there are, as far as we know, no bookmakers currently operating.

''But it may only be half the battle. However, at the moment it is going well and we are pleased,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the MJC have announced a replacement for racing administrator Michael Fenton who quit dramatically last month.

His place will go to 26-year-old Englishman Paul Clegg who has worked with Wetherbys for almost three years.