Macau, which is a ferry ride away from Hong Kong has surpassed Las Vegas a number of years ago and is now recognized as the gambling capital of the world and is home to just about every recognizable gambling company. Hong Kong on the other hand is more known for its sky scrapers than it’s casinos.
Yet, South China Morning Post newspaper reports that illegal gambling in Hong Kong has grown in leaps and bounds and is now officially a HK$500 billion dollar industry ($64.5 billion). Betting in Hong Kong is not illegal but it’s just that the illegal gambling market is much more appealing and lucrative to punters.
The illegal gambling scene in Hong Kong is controlled by the syndicates and covers a wide range of sports betting such as horse betting, football and basketball. The syndicates are far too powerful for local law enforcement to crackdown and break up these illegal gambling rings. It would require the Hong Kong government to formulate a strategy and then execute it to curb illegal gambling in Hong Kong.
The FIFA 2014 Football world cup which is currently taking place in Brazil runs for over a month and is the perfect setup for illegal gambling and sports betting activities to thrive. The expansion of illegal gambling in Hong Kong stifles the growth of regulated and legalized sports betting establishments such as the Jockey Club.
Martin Purbrick, the director of security at the Jockey Club said “We need a strategy that includes the media to highlight the criminal problem, banks to prevent payments to and from illegal betting operators, police to priorities cross-border efforts against operators and a legal betting product range to compete with illegal bookmakers.”