Illegal Sports Betting Growing in Hong Kong

Published Sunday, June 08, 2014 -
Illegal Sports Betting Growing in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Jockey Club is one of the oldest institutions in Hong Kong, founded in 1884 to promote horse racing. It was granted Royal Charter and renamed to "The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club" in 1959. The HKJC has a monopoly on legal sports betting in the special administrative region of China.

Patrick Jay director of trading for the Club was recently quoted by the South China Morning Post that the Club handled just under twenty five percent of the estimate $64.5 billion US the illegal betting market produced last year. It was suggested by the executive that the illegal betting market offers more choice for the gambler causing more money to go into the unlicensed sector. While legal operators give the punter limited wagering options the illegal market on the other hand, offers “hundreds of thousands” of races from around the planet, “tens of thousands” of football matches and other sports plus “an array of different types of bets.”

The 2010 FIFA World Cup saw millions of dollars being wagered with illegal operators with as much as $50million USD being confiscated by Hong Kong Police. These numbers represented “a very small drop in a very, very big ocean.” HKJC director of security Martin Purbrick remarked. The police used a coordinated strategy, including media outlets publicizing the issue, financial institutions stemming the flow of funds and, international cooperation among police forces. Hong Kong Police has also teamed with nine other Asian countries and global crime fighters Interpol on a month-long operation focused on stamping out illegal World Cup wagering.

Representatives of the nine countries met in Indonesia last month to hammer out a strategy. Organized Crime and Triad Bureau superintendent Dan Ng Wai-hon commented that not all nations were as committed to the goal and they weren’t convinced that illegal betting was a real issue that needed to be dealt with. Jay still maintains the betting public should realize that illegal betting’s “links to organized crime are real.”

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