Boost for Hong Kong Horse Racing
Horse racing season in Hong Kong has run from September to June for years, and government has been extremely strict on the sport, in a bid to discourage illegal gambling. But lately, the combination of nearby cities luring Hong Kong residents through their casinos, and the drop in government revue generated by the horse racing industry, has encouraged officials to take a serious look at the proposal to extend the horse racing season by five racing days. News that a few changes were approved by government has created excitement and anticipation in the racing community and horse racing enthusiasts.
Secretary for Home Affairs, Carrie Yau, commented that there was a need to develop the tourism industry within Hong Kong, as well as find ways to increase the economy of the city, as many other cities have been doing. Recognizing that destinations such as Macau, have developed casinos and other entertainment facilities, it was time to look at the structure of horse racing in Hong Kong. She was quoted, saying: “The arrangement on the number of race meetings in Hong Kong has not been changed for 10 years. We must look at the development of our competitors and make sure that we do not lag behind.”
The increase in racing days will mean that the season will now offer eighty three racing meetings opposed to the current seventy eight. It is hoped that this boost in racing days will also assist the tax revenue for the Hong Kong government to reach over five hundred million Hong Kong dollars. The Jockey Club of Hong Kong is the only regulator of horse racing and its betting, and has also been given permission to run fifteen simultaneous horse racing broadcasts of international racing events, that will not only increase betting amounts, but regulate legal betting and deter illegal gambling. It will also accommodate foreign horse racing fans, as they will be able to stay up to date with their racing events back home, while visiting Hong Kong. With only three legal betting industries in Hong Kong, namely the weekly lottery and horse racing and soccer matches which are both regulated through the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the extra racing days will create more opportunities for the horsemen in the industry, as well as the betting public.