The HKGC Will Pay a Total of HK$12 billion in “Additional Football Betting Tax” in the Next Five Years

February 24, 2023 | Sports Betting

HONG KONG, SAR (February 22, 2023) — The Hong Kong Jockey Club (“the Club”) is aware that the 2023-24 Budget announced today (22 February 2023) by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“the HKSAR Government”) includes an “Additional Football Betting tax” arrangement. In the five financial years from 2023/24 to 2027/28, the Jockey Club has to pay an additional HK$2.4 billion to the treasury every year, with a total of HK$12 billion in five years.

During the budget consultation period, the Jockey Club clearly pointed out that Hong Kong’s gaming tax rate is the highest in the world, and the Jockey Club has strong reservations about the proposal to increase the gaming tax rate. Raising the gaming tax rate will bring about irreparable structural problems, endanger the comprehensive business model that the Jockey Club relies on for success, and completely weaken the Jockey Club’s sustainable competitiveness. In the end, it will only damage Hong Kong, making illegal peripheral and overseas bookmakers the only beneficiaries By. More importantly, increasing the betting tax rate will seriously affect the Club’s ability to continue to make contributions to the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust (the “Charitable Trust”).

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jockey Club is still focusing on coping with the extremely difficult economic and livelihood challenges. For example, in 2021/22, the Charitable Trust donated HK$2.1 billion to support projects related to the new crown epidemic and support community activities related to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, in addition to the annual regular donation. We understand that Hong Kong is recovering economically, and the government still has to deal with many social and people’s livelihood issues.

In line with the purpose of the club and in response to the current special situation in Hong Kong, the Jockey Club understands that the government has decided to levy HK$2.4 billion a year in the next five financial years, with a total fixed amount of HK$12 billion “additional football betting tax” ” reason. During these five financial years, the Club’s income will thus be substantially reduced, which will have a significant impact on the Club’s Charitable Trust Fund allocation; however, the Charitable Trust Fund will not reduce the level of recurring donations awarded each year. In 2021/22, the relevant donations will reach HK$4.5 billion..

The Jockey Club reiterates that it is facing a major and urgent need to maintain its sustainable global competitiveness, more effectively crack down on illegal peripheral and overseas bookmakers, and fully grasp market opportunities through strategic investment in information technology systems and horse racing assets. Strengthen Hong Kong’s status as an international horse racing and gaming center to rival Hong Kong’s status as the country’s international financial centre. Therefore, the Jockey Club strongly urges the SAR government to seriously review and lower the current betting tax rate, which is currently the highest in the world, in the long run, especially the horse racing betting tax rate ranging from 72.5-75%.

We are also seeking support from the government so that we can introduce more trans-ocean broadcasts and global pools. In addition, we urge the government to launch a review of the licensing conditions for football betting, to give the Jockey Club the necessary flexibility and competitiveness to cope with the increasingly severe market competition and challenges from illegal peripherals and overseas bookmakers, and to alleviate the need to pay “extra football betting”. The negative impact of revenue decline due to gaming tax.

The Club has always been committed to building a better society. We are confident that under the leadership of the current government and the concerted efforts of all sectors of society, Hong Kong’s economic situation will improve, and the temporary and special financial difficulties of the SAR government will be resolved at an early date.

SOURCE: Hong Kong Jockey Club.

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