Full benefits of betting reforms will only be realised if rebates extended to more punters

We're not sure the Jockey Club did itself any favours on the weekend by using the February 5, 2006, meeting as its comparison for turnover year on year. But the comparative decline for the day was a glitch in what is now looking a steady and worthwhile overall rise of around 4.7 per cent for the season.

February 5 last year was a feature meeting with the Classic Mile heading the talent and a Triple Trio jackpot in place, so comparison with Sunday's non-feature day was probably not entirely fair even if there was an extra race, albeit a low-holding griffin race.

A rise of 4.7 per cent, let's call it five per cent and be optimistic, is certainly a worthwhile figure coming off nine years of decline and the likelihood that this season would have seen another drop of three to five per cent but for the tax restructuring and the benefits of the rebate system.

It's a start, even though the club's tax pledge to the government is going to cost it money on a rise of only five per cent in betting.

We've said it here before, and it is worth reiterating, that for the tax changes to really kick home and be everything they can be, the changes have to be widely accessible and not only for those turning over HK$10,000 tickets.