Hong Kong’s government has passed a bill to impose a new football betting tax on the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Hong Kong.- The Legislative Council has passed a bill mandating the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) to pay an extra HK$12bn in taxes on its football betting earnings over the next five years. The move aims to bolster the government’s financial resources, despite initial objections raised by the club.
Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Christopher Hui, said the new levy of HK$2.4bn (US$306m) a year would not impact the club’s philanthropic efforts. He said the Special Football Betting Duty (SFBD) took into account various factors, including affordability and external competition faced by the local football betting industry.
The tax measure was proposed by the New People’s Party (NPP) in January. The HKJC had opposed it, arguing that its horse-racing duty rates already ranked among the highest globally, ranging from 72 to 75 per cent. It warned the proposal could deeply damage its business model and Hong Kong’s global reputation as a racing jurisdiction.
However, Regina Ip of the New People’s Party downplayed the HK$2.4bn tax in comparison to the club’s investment returns. Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, chairman of the Liberal Party, has suggested extending the betting duty to other sports like basketball.