Hong Kong Jockey Club Chairman Campaigns for Tax Reform
Chairman believes tax reforms will aid the survival of challenged Hong Kong racing industry
Tuesday 31st August 2004
Ronald Arculli, the Chairman of Hong Kong Jockey Club, has beseeched the government to begin considering reforming the betting duty imposed upon the Hong Kong racing industry. Arculli has expressed concern for the Hong Kong racing industry’s future, and believes that tax reform could hold the answer to the industry’s survival.
Mr Arculli noted at the Jockey Club’s AGM on 26 August, that although the Club has achieved respect from around the world, there has been a continual decline in betting revenue for racing in Hong Kong. This decline is, he believes, putting the industry at risk. At a press conference he revealed that racing turnover diminished by 9 percent last year, to a total of HK$65 billion. This is the seventh consecutive year that the betting revenue generated by racing has decreased, with an overall cumulative drop by 29 percent since the 1996/97 season.
Arculli believes one the decline is a direct result of the increased gambling opposition that the industry is facing, and in order to secure a future for the jockey Club and to maintain their charitable contributions, the government and the club need to look at possible reformation to the current betting duty imposed. At a press conference yesterday, Arculli said 'Excessive betting duty rates and rigid regulations have allowed illegal and offshore betting operators to penetrate the Hong Kong market…With increasing proliferation of new casinos in nearby cities, casino boats and online betting exchanges, turnover-based betting duty at an excessively high rate is no longer a realistic or sustainable proposition. The Club believes it is time to conduct a betting duty reform which allows more flexible options including replacing betting duty with a gross profit tax. For Hong Kong, a similar change would allow us to recapture money drained underground or offshore. This would be good not only for racing but also for containing the drainage of community resources offshore and underground…We need to create a win-win situation that can assure a future for Hong Kong racing and to maintain our support for tax and charity.'