As reported by Harness Tracks of America:
One of the world's biggest bookmakers has told one of the world's biggest racing operations that he'll give them a helping hand.
Victor Chandler Worldwide has told the Hong Kong Jockey Club--hard hit by offshore simulcasting pirates--that it will not offer fixed-odds betting to Hong Kong residents on any horseracing in the territory, eliminating that potential source of competition.
"The gambling industry worldwide is facing new challenges and our approach is to be creative but responsible in how we adapt to those changes."
- Michael Carlton
Michael Carlton, group managing director of Victor Chandler, said the firm wanted to work with the Jockey Club to develop the growth potential offered by Internet betting, and it urged the Hong Kong government to take advantage of a "win-win" situation by abolishing betting duty in favor of a profits tax on Jockey Club revenue.
"The gambling industry worldwide is facing new challenges and our approach is to be creative but responsible in how we adapt to those changes," Carlton said.
He said the ideal long-term solution would be for the Jockey Club to work with Victor Chandler to expand the Hong Kong product.
He added, "The Jockey Club could sell its pictures around the world and generate more betting turnover through a mix of fixed-odds betting and tote betting through the Hong Kong pools."
William Hill, one of the "Big Three" of English bookmaking, wasn't as considerate. It began taking fixed-odds betting on Hong Kong racing last week, drawing a charge of piracy and confrontation from the Jockey Club. Hill said it operated in a global marketplace and had to give its customers what they want.
"Racing, like other sports, creates interest worldwide now and it is inevitable that
punters will want to bet on sport in other countries," Hill stated. "We have clients in more than 150 countries and in southeast Asia alone our turnover runs into hundreds of billions of dollars. Our approach is all about satisfying demand in a responsible way."
The incident is an object lesson in what lies ahead for racing enterprises pursuing local and overseas markets.