Hong Kong Jockey Club chief Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges believes the addition of five more race days each season would help stem Hongkongers' betting spree in Macau casinos - estimated to be worth HK$20 billion to HK$25 billion last year. Quantifying the competitive threat from Macau for the first time, Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges argued that extending the 78-meeting season by five meetings and adding 20 more simulcasts of overseas races would reap significant benefits for Hong Kong and the government. Additional tax revenue from the extra race days would reach HK$480 million, while the simulcasts would generate HK$36 million for government coffers, according to club calculations. The proposed additions would also help the club sustain or increase its charitable contributions, which are expected to rise to about HK$1.3 billion or HK$1.4 billion in 2008-09, up from about HK$1 billion a year ago, he said. About 4,100 part-time, and up to 100 full-time, workers would be needed as a result. More simulcasts would not significantly boost betting turnover or tax revenue, but they were needed to allow punters and fans to bet on overseas races featuring Hong Kong horses, trainers or jockeys without turning to illegal bookmakers, he argued. 'Money is not the main concern' for wanting to add race days and simulcasts, Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges said. 'But I am extremely worried about the competition getting into our customer base because then it becomes a matter of money.' A survey conducted for the club by an independent consultant estimated that Hong Kong punters lost about HK$20 billion at Macau's casinos last year, up from about HK$9.1 billion in 2005. By comparison, punters lost about HK$11 billion on horse races at the club. The findings were based on interviews with visitors to Macau and gaming analysts. The club's proposal has already been submitted to the government. A Home Affairs Bureau spokesman said the Betting and Lotteries Commission had set up a working group to study the club's proposal. The commission was updated on the group's progress last week and will seek the public's views on the matter this month. The government would carefully consider the views of the commission and the Legislative Council before making a decision, the spokesman said. Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing said: 'We are waiting to hear from the Betting and Lotteries Commission and we will keep an open mind. We will strive to strike a balance.' The commission advises the secretary for home affairs on the regulation of horse-race betting. Under the plan, the extra race days would be added in July before the summer break. The earliest the meetings could be added was July next year, Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges said, as it would take about a year to prepare for the extended season, including hiring more staff and acquiring between 60 and 80 more horses.