Football betting has had a short lifespan in Hong Kong, having only been allowed by the government as a public betting market in 2012/2013, allowing the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) to diversify it betting portfolio. Football has quickly developed into a mainstay popular betting market for Hong Kong punters, as reports conducted show that the betting has risen threefold from HK$ 16.1 billion to HK$ 50.6 billion.
Hong Kong Jockey Club has reported a record year in the region for football betting. Reports published by the HKJC announced a betting turnover of HK$ 50.6 billion (US$ 6.5 billion)
The published results by the part state owned Hong Kong Jockey Club should offer a boost for regulation of sports betting and igaming services in the Asian Market, as the region tries to combat betting and sports corruption. The HKJC’s performance should be set against the competition it faces from both offshore and illegal operators. As the HKJC states:
“we are able to offer fewer matches and bet types than many of our illegal and offshore competitors, who are able to attract customers with more competitive odds, as they pay no tax, and lure customers with credit betting and other socially undesirable incentives.”
One of the HKJC’s primary functions is to support social, sporting and charitable causes in Hong Kong and the growth of football betting is helping to fund improvements in Hong Kong’s football leagues.
The HKJC has sponsored a number of training programmes for youth football. The Jockey Club Youth Football Development Programme is providing football training for almost 10,000 players aged 5 to 19. The scheme is in its second year and is run by the Hong Kong Football Association. It was funded by a HK$ 12 million (US$1.55 million) donation from the HKJC.
Young players who show potential are then eligible to undertake year-round training and to join the Jockey Club Elite Youth Football Camp, where they can train with coaches from the Manchester United Soccer School. The Jockey Club is also contributing HK$ 44 million (US$ 5.6 million) towards the building of a new youth training centre at the Kitchee Football Club in Shek Mun.