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Hong Kong Jockey Club expresses openness to catering to NBA betting

March 15, 2024 iGaming & GamblingSports

Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the CEO of the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), has said that he is open to taking NBA wagers, pending regulatory approval.

In an interview with The Standard, he discussed the possibility of legal ways to capture a sizeable chunk of the existing basketball betting industry. According to his estimation, up to 60% of the 150,000 bettors who are now wagering on basketball illegally may move to legal channels.

Engelbrecht-Bresges drew attention to the illicit betting market’s phenomenal expansion, especially during the last five years due to the emergence of cryptocurrencies and increased digitization. The COVID-19 epidemic has made this tendency worse, increasing internet engagement and illicit basketball betting, often via offshore accounts.

Last year, almost 560,000 Hong Kong bettors wagered anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000 on basketball via illicit bookies. Legal basketball wagering may draw a sizable number of these wagerers to the HKJC and reduce the sway of unapproved websites.

He projected an illicit sports betting market of over HK$350 billion ($45 billion), with 15% of that amount coming from basketball, in order to demonstrate the size of this massive industry. Like club football betting, legal basketball betting may bring in 6.7 billion Hong Kong dollars, or HK$52.5 billion, in revenue.

However, Engelbrecht-Bresges did draw attention to the significant outlay needed to build the basketball betting infrastructure, which is projected to cost between HK$1.5 billion ($191.7 million) and HK$2.5 billion ($319.6 million). Furthermore, he projected that the legalization of basketball gambling would need a year and a half of legislative work, which is comparable to the period needed for laws pertaining to football wagering.

According to Engelbrecht-Bresges, the goal of the HKJC is to raise the level of China’s national equestrian industry to a “world-class” level relevant to the Chinese market, with a focus on Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. A major step in accomplishing this aim is establishing a presence in Conghua, Guangdong, as a center for horse racing and equestrian sports in 2018.

In order to achieve these objectives, the HKJC has invested in infrastructure. For example, it built a quarantine station within the training center that ensures stringent biosecurity procedures to protect the integrity and well-being of the racing industry.

Original story by: Asia Gaming Brief

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