Hong Kong to Allow Online GamblingPublished September 24, 2014 by Mike P
Hong Kong will not ban online gambling to mimic the actions of Singapore. Residents will be allowed to exercise their freedom on the web.
News outlets have been reporting since early September that Singapore is planning to introduce a ban that will prevent its residents from engaging in online gambling. In stark contrast, a spokesman from the Hong Kong Home Affairs Bureau has recently been quoted by Chinese press outlets as saying that Hong Kong will not be taking similar political action, explaining that they “[Respect] freedom to access information” and will not block internet access.
Opposition in Hong Kong
Martin Purbrick, a security director with the Hong Kong Hockey Club, is one of many opponents who is resolutely opposed to online gambling. He has previously claimed that bettors lose HK$12b every year by gambling online, even going so far as to speculate that the money funds criminal enterprises. However, Hong Kong is confident in its current legislation and will not be replicating the Remote Gambling Bill of Singapore.
Illegal Soccer Betting Worth HK$500b
Purbrick is concerned that unlicensed gambling sites are using sports betting as a means of laundering money. He has previously estimated that more than HK$500b was turned over in 2013 by illegal football betting. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is supposed to be the city’s own legal online gambling operator.
The average punter in Hong Kong is turning to unlicensed sports betting sites because they offer superior odds to those of the Jockey Club. And there is not shortage of opportunities because of the confusing situation with global gambling licenses. For instance, operators can be licensed in the Philippines so long as they don’t serve domestic residents.
Gambling a Part of Life
Chinese journalists have found that many one-time back-room gambling operators have used their earnings to set up in the special administrative region of Macau, where gambling is legal in China. The next logical step is to expand online, but Hong Kong politicians aren’t currently concerned.