Upping betting duty means extra HK$5.9b tax income, says lawmaker

Increasing Hong Kong’s betting duty can bring in an extra HK$5.9 billion in tax income to the treasury, said New People’s Party’s lawmaker Adrian Ho King-hong on Thursday.

Ho told a radio program this morning that it is a “really nice way” for the government to find other sources of income.

He added that the suggestion can be considered to ensure authorities can strike a balance between income and expenditure for the treasury, noting that the SAR is now facing a financial deficit after spending a considerable sum on fighting Covid-19 for three years.

Ho also said he expected objections when it came to increasing betting duty but challenged that the move would really bring any impact on Hong Kong Jockey Club, pointing to over HK$100 billion in reverse from three HKJC charity funds.

Ho continued that HKJC has cornered the market for so long that it has forgotten that stepping up its competitiveness is crucial and suggested introducing betting for basketball matches and formula one races.

The party’s chairwoman, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, and HKJC had earlier crossed fire several times over the debate.

HKJC published a release late at night in January and blasted the party’s proposal, which “represents a lack of understanding of the competition in the wagering market and the club’s investment and business.”

Ip then attended a radio program the following day and hit back at HKJC for overreacting.