The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) will be taxed a further HK$2.4 billion (€280m) per year for the next five years, due to new fiscal measures imposed by the Government of Hong Kong.
This week’s budget statement by HK Financial Secretary Paul Chen announced the special measure that a ‘temporary betting duty’ will be applied to HKJC wagers from fiscal year 2023/2024.
Chen cited that the football levy was needed to reduce fiscal pressure on the administration, as HK accounts for a predicted deficit of HK$54.4bn for the coming financial year.
The Jockey Club has accepted that it must pay further duties of HK12.00bn (€1.4bn) over the next five years. However its board warned the HK government that increased betting duties would “inevitably have a significant impact on its donations made by Jockey Club Charities Trust”.
“Any permanent hike in betting duty rates will create structural problems irreversibly damaging the club’s successful integrated business model and continued competitiveness, while benefiting only illegal and offshore betting operators,” read the HKJC response.
“Most importantly, such an increase will adversely impact on the club’s ability to contribute to the community through our donations to the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust on a sustainable basis.”
Regina Ip Executive Councillor for the New Peoples Party (NPP), which proposed the football levy, dismissed the Jockey Club’s claim that it will have less money to give to its trust. Ip stated that there is no evidence to support this forecast, and that gambling revenues have been increasing.
Though accepting the levy, the HKJC urged the government to undertake an urgent review of betting duty on horse racing and a reduction in rates and to provide support in reviewing licensing conditions on football betting.
The budget statement concluded that it was up to the Jockey Club on how it will proceed to pay its HK$2.4bn yearly fee.