In sharp contrast to the doings in Washington, the Hong Kong government announced today it was studying ways to regulate--but not prohibit--cyber-betting.
David Lan, secretary for home affairs, said, "The authorities will closely monitor the development of Internet gambling and continue to study how to regulate such Internet gambling activities more effectively." Lan said there were no Internet gambling sites in Hong Kong, but "betting-mad locals were taking punts on overseas sites." He said no proceedings have been instituted against anybody.
In a related development in the United Kingdom, William Hill, Britain's second largest bookmaker, announced that he is launching an Isle of Man Internet soccer betting service targeted at gamblers in the Far East, Europe and Asia, and said he is developing an Internet-based horse race betting service for United Kingdom residents that will be rolled out by August. Hill says he feels he will be able to build on his reputation as a reliable, established bookmaker and by offering more betting opportunities to his customers. They will be required, for example, to make a credit card deposit of only five pounds ($8.05) compared with up to 200 pounds ($322) on other services to place a bet. The service will accept bets in several currencies.
And in the U.S., Youbet.com has added Dover Downs to its list of harness tracks. Charles Lockhart, Dover GM and HTA director, said the track is "looking forward to increasing attendance and wagering revenue through Youbet.com's home distribution network."