The Jockey Club will open up its two racecourses to provide betting services for next week’s Royal Ascot meeting.

The club announced that for five days – from Monday, June 15 to Friday, June 19 – customers will be able to access Sha Tin and Happy Valley from 10am until 6.30pm to service their accounts.

On Monday, punters can go to either track to cash in vouchers or winning tickets, deposit or withdraw money from accounts, open or reactivate accounts and set-up the ability to transfer funds.

From Tuesday to Friday, all those services will remain in place while punters can also place bets on the Royal Ascot simulcast.

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Betting services for local races and football will not be available inside the racecourses, and the Mark Six lottery will remain suspended.

All customers will be required to enter and exit the tracks through the public admission gates, undergo temperature screening, wear a surgical mask and fill in a health declaration form.

Anyone who has travelled overseas within 14 days will not be admitted while the social distancing and group gathering restrictions put in place by the Hong Kong government must be adhered to. Hand sanitiser will also be provided.

All off-course betting branches remain closed for the time being.

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The move is a positive sign in terms of relaxing the restrictions that have been in place since the Covid-19 crisis hit Hong Kong in late January.

It is also a sign of how seriously the Jockey Club takes its role as the host of the “world pool” for Royal Ascot, where last year pari-mutuel punters from 13 countries bet on 24 of the 30 races.

The idea is that by combining all these jurisdictions into one giant pool there is more liquidity in the markets which in turn provides better value for customers and increased price surety.