The total betting duty and profits tax paid by The Hong Kong Jockey Club to the SAR Government in 2004/05 season reached HK$12.3 billion, the Club said today (6 July). The figure is estimated to represent around 9.7 per cent of total tax collected by Inland Revenue Department. In addition, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust contributed HK$1.02 billion to community and charitable projects in Hong Kong.
Announcing the preliminary season-end figures, Chief Executive Lawrence T Wong said they represented a generally satisfactory performance by the Club's core businesses. However he also pointed out that unauthorised and illegal gambling operators were continuing to have a negative impact, with Government and community both losing out on much needed financial support as a result.
''It is imperative that the Government, the Club and the community at large stay on the alert to maintain the fight against illegal gambling, especially during the summer break, Mr Wong said. This is essential to make sure that gambling in Hong Kong is conducted in a responsible manner, and that the proceeds of gambling are reinvested into the community.''
Noting that the Club's prime objective was to implement the regulated gambling policies authorised by the Government, Mr Wong said that responsible gambling could only be achieved by ensuring that betting in Hong Kong was conducted through the authorised channels. ''The Club has always been strongly committed to socially responsible gambling as reflected in our Responsible Gambling Policy. Illegal bookmakers by contrast have no such commitment; their sole objective is to maximise profits.''
Mr Wong said that the agreement reached recently with the Government to modernise the betting duty system was a strongly positive step forward in this direction. ''Enactment of the Bill that the Government plans to table later this year will give us more flexibility to determine our payout rates and bet types, and thus limit the reach of illegal and unauthorised offshore bookmakers. It is not aimed at attracting new bettors, but at arresting the current decline by clawing back turnover from the illegal market.''
''The new pricing structure of our betting products will also open up more opportunities for Hong Kong to benefit from the growing overseas interest in our world-class horse racing activities, he added. We hope that legislators and the community will be able to give the Bill their full and fair consideration.''
Outlining the performances of individual units of the Club's activities, Mr Wong said that total horse racing attendance (1.93 million) and betting turnover (HK$62.7 billion) had continued to show a decline, although the 3.6 per cent fall in turnover compared with 2003/04 was smaller than in some recent years, attributable to the reviving economy. Total horse race betting duty paid to the Government was 4.9% down at HK$8.35 billion.
HKJC Football Betting Ltd recorded turnover of HK$26.7 billion and gross profits of HK$4.06 billion, of which 50 per cent, or HK$2.03 billion was paid to the Government as betting duty and HK$450 million allocated to the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The sharp increase of 53 per cent in turnover was attributable to the fact that football betting was offered for the full 12 months of the year, compared with only 11 months in 2003/04, the first year of operation, and the availability of a more comprehensive betting programme. However, the gross profit margin fell from about 21 per cent to 15 per cent as more competitive odds and lower margin bet types were offered in order to step up the fight against illegal bookies.
''We expect a tough year ahead as the FIFA World Cup in 2006 will give the illegal bookmakers a golden opportunity to try expanding their market,'' Mr Wong observed.
Turnover for the Mark Six, rose 12.6 per cent to HK$6.6 billion. Of this, HK$1.65 billion was paid to the Government as lottery duty and HK$990 million allocated to the Lotteries Fund, which supports service organisations in the community under the auspices of Social Welfare Department.
In 2004/05, total community donations of HK$1.02 billion by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust provided support to some 114 local organisations for community or charitable projects in four key sectors: medical and health; education and training; sports, recreation and culture; and community services.
Notable new community projects launched with Trust funding during the year included P.A.T.H.S. to Adulthood: A Jockey Club Youth Enhancement Scheme, a three-year programme designed to help young secondary students establish self-identity, develop positive values, and enhance their self-confidence and sense of responsibility.
The Trust also provide funding to establish a nursing home for cancer patients in the former Nam Long Hospital, providing a range of interlinked services affordable to sandwich-class patients; and a creative arts centre, to be located in a former factory building in Shek Kip Mei, which will form Hong Kong's first arts hub for local artists, making studio and exhibition spaces available to promote their development. In addition, the Trust is funding the setting-up of The Jockey Club Harmony Link – an integrated domestic violence prevention and service centre to address issues facing victims, abusers and related family members, especially children.
With a view to optimising the effectiveness of its donations and better meeting agencies' needs, the Trust implemented a new Community Project Grant funding mode in April 2005. Under this mode, some 61 non-governmental organisations that were on the Trust's annual subvention list have been granted funding for the next three years to provide non-government-subvented services. The Trust has also for the first time funded the production and airing of a weekly series on Commercial Radio, featuring Trust-funded agencies and topical community issues. The programmes include interactive phone-in sessions during which listeners can share their problems.
Following the donation of an 1852 silver racing trophy in recognition of the Club's contribution to the community, a new annual Community Day race meeting was launched in late May, with The Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Trophy as its feature race. And last November, the Club received a Partner in Charity Award from The Community Chest of Hong Kong, acknowledging its strong support over the years.
Mr Wong said the wide spectrum of projects being supported by the Club provided strong testimony to the community value of its unique, not-for-profit business model. ''Despite the challenges we continue to face, we are doing our utmost to maintain our levels of commitment to the community,'' he pledged. This year the Trust has donated some HK$1.02 billion to over 100 charities and community projects.
''While naturally we put a priority on supporting the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, we are also investing substantially in projects that can nurture our young people, instil civic pride and equip them for the challenges ahead, Mr Wong added. Our overall aim is to foster a more caring society. As a responsible corporate citizen, we want to address not only the needs of Hong Kong today, but also invest in the Hong Kong of tomorrow.''
Season-end figures of the Hong Kong Jockey Club
(A) Business Figures
1. Horse Racing ($million)
|Betting Duty||8,352 ||8,779||-4.9%|| |
2. Football Betting ($million)
(July 04 – June 05)
(Aug 03 – June 04)
(Monthly ave.: 2,228)
(Monthly ave.: 1,460)
(Monthly ave.: 169)
(Monthly ave.: 150)
3. Mark Six ($million)
|Allocation to Lotteries Fund||990||879||+12.6%|| |
(B) Club Contribution
1. Duties and Profits Tax ($million)
|Betting Duty (Racing)||8,352||8,779||-4.9%|
(Aug 03-June 04)
|Total Amount||12,335||12,181||+1.3%|| |
2. Appropriation to The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust ($million)
|Total Amount||1,310||1,120||+17%|| |
3. Donations by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust ($million)
|Total Amount||1,020||975||+4.6%|| |