The Hong Kong Football Association chief yesterday said Home Affairs Secretary Patrick Ho Chi-ping had told him the government would try and persuade legislators and the public to support legalised soccer betting. But a spokesman for Mr Ho said the government was still considering whether to legalise wagering on soccer games. The secretary was only listening to views during his meeting with association chairman Martin Hong Po-kui yesterday, the spokesman said. After their meeting, Mr Hong said the new minister believed that the issue was a recreational rather than a moral one. 'The secretary has not given his official stance, but I believe [from what I perceived during the meeting] that he believes the majority in society are in support of regulated soccer betting,' Mr Hong said. 'The secretary said the problem is a recreational issue rather than a moral issue . . . he said they would turn opposition voices among legislators and society into voices of support.' Mr Hong quoted Mr Ho as saying that if soccer betting were legalised, part of the funds would help develop professional soccer teams. 'It is clear that people have a consensus after the World Cup, and as there is public support, the next step is to get support from political parties,' Mr Hong said. Mr Ho is due to meet members of the anti-soccer betting lobby next week. Meanwhile, the government has received more than 70 submissions from sport groups over a plan to scrap the Sport Development Board and possibly launch a sports lottery. The two-month consultation period ends today.