Leading online bookmaker Victor Chandler Worldwide yesterday said it had 'no plans to offer fixed-odds betting to Hong Kong residents on any horseracing in the territory' and pledged 'full support' for the Hong Kong Jockey Club's hardline stance against offshore pirates. Michael Carlton, Chandler's group managing director, said the firm wanted to work alongside the Club to develop the growth potential offered by Internet betting and urged the Hong Kong government to take advantage of a 'win-win' situation by abolishing betting duty in favour of a profits tax on Jockey Club revenue. Carlton revealed that the Gibraltar-based company had held talks with the Club only three weeks ago on the issue of Internet betting. 'We have met with various members of the Jockey Club over the past five years and we feel the best way forward is to keep open the lines of communication with racing authorities and legislators worldwide. We also made comments on the amendments to the Gambling Ordinance which are being discussed in Hong Kong.' Carlton added: 'We have no plans at the moment to offer fixed-odds betting to Hong Kong residents on any racing in the territory. Our position remains as it has always been, which is fully supportive of Hong Kong racing. The gambling industry worldwide is facing new challenges and our approach is to be creative but responsible in how we adapt to these changes. 'The ideal solution in the long term is to have the Hong Kong Jockey Club working alongside Victor Chandler to expand the Hong Kong racing product. The Jockey Club could sell its pictures around the world and generate more betting turnover through a mix of fixed-odds betting and tote betting through the Hong Kong pools.' The Jockey Club has been pressing the Government for a switch from betting duty to a profits tax and Carlton said the move would make financial sense. 'We recognise the important contribution the Jockey Club makes to public finances and charity, which is why we support the vital position of the Jockey Club in Hong Kong and would not wish adversely to affect that. 'But Hong Kong has a marvellous opportunity to protect that revenue by switching to a profits tax. The experience of other countries shows that abolishing betting duty boosts turnover and it is a win-win situation for everyone - the government, the betting operators, the punters, the community.' Chandler had been widely regarded as another potential overseas threat to the Jockey Club's betting revenue, and its position is ironic as it led the offshore move by British bookmakers which created a crisis for the United Kingdom's betting revenue two years ago. When Chandler's move to a tax-free environment was copied by the 'Big Three' bookmakers, the British Government was forced to replace betting duty with a tax on gross profits in order to persuade the firms to return onshore. At the same time, the Government gave the bookmakers free rein to turn the UK into the global centre for online betting - a policy which encouraged William Hill, one of the 'Big Three', to open fixed-odds betting on Hong Kong racing last weekend. Hill's move drew an angry response from the Jockey Club, which labelled the offshore bookmakers 'pirates', and Carlton added: 'If other companies choose to take a more confrontational approach then that is their decision, but at the moment we believe it will probably do more harm than good. There are some complex issues involved here.' But Carlton said it was unlikely other operators could be locked out of Hong Kong's gambling market. 'Like many other businesses, we are operating in a global marketplace and we have to give the customer what he wants. Racing, like other sports, creates interest worldwide now and it is inevitable that punters will want to bet on sport in other countries. We have clients in more than 150 countries and in south-east Asia alone our turnover runs into hundreds of billions of dollars. Our approach is all about satisfying demand in a responsible way.' Although all of Victor Chandler's bets are taken in Gibraltar, the company has an administration office in Hong Kong and Carlton said Chandler has 'thousands of Hong Kong clients'. He added: 'We are proud to say that we are the only bookmakers with an office in Hong Kong, which operates within the constraints of the current regulations.'