News from Down Under suggests the TAB chiefs of Victoria and New South Wales are getting their collective acts together, and the integration of the two biggest betting markets in Australia will be achieved by early February. Michael Piggott, chief executive of Victoria's Tabcorp, is also keen to have Hong Kong racing beamed into Australian betting agencies and private lounge rooms through cable and satellite networks, which should ultimately lead to the completion of a long-term Jockey Club goal - getting overseas punters to bet into Hong Kong pools. According to Piggott, whose company took over its NSW equivalent earlier this year, the southern raider has not hit any 'insurmountable hurdles' in integrating the two massive betting systems into a unified stream, adding that he expected the final government blessing for the project was not far away. Piggott confirmed Tabcorp had been in discussion with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, saying he believed Hong Kong racing would be a 'great addition' to the Australian betting programme. There are two systems on which international wagering can work. One is the establishment of domestic pools, the usual easy option but it's one that is only attractive to recreational punters at the small end of the market. The alternative, and one the southerners should be adopting, is commingling with the Hong Kong pools, for an agreed percentage of the commission of each betting dollar they take, which would be infinitely more attractive to medium-to-large tote players. Hong Kong has justification for calling itself the world's best racing-wagering product, a claim that will be franked if and when the long-awaited wagering reform goes through. The attraction to world players of a 10 per cent win and place, and 12 per cent quinella take-out, will be simply enormous. Does the Hong Kong government and Treasury have any idea how good it could be for all parties if they just said yes to the reforms the Jockey Club is currently seeking? Does the continuing delay mean they just don't understand the significance of the key issues and/or are too scared to make a decision? Attracting the greater racing world into the Hong Kong pools, while maintaining the spirit of the so-called Good Neighbour agreements, shows the Jockey Club knows what it is doing. Let's hope we can ultimately say the same thing about Treasury and Home Affairs.