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Amendment for offshore bookies in Hong Kong

16 July 2001

Offshore bookmakers were relieved to discover that they would be able to continue betting promotions in Hong Kong, even after gambling laws are revised. According to the planned amendments, offshore bookmakers could establish outlets in Hong Kong as long as they did not accept or collect bets in the territory. The announcement drew criticism from unexpected quarters. Democratic Party legislator Sin Chung-kai criticized the lack of clarity surrounding the rulings, "The government should state clearly what activities are prohibited and what are not. Many tourist agencies give out vouchers and air tickets to people to go to Las Vegas to bet. Will this breach the law?" Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs Betty Fung Ching Suk-yee attempted to clarify the situation, explaining that the amendment bill was aimed at curbing offshore gambling, particularly on horse races and football matches. Defending the ruling was Legislative Council Bills Committee chairman Andrew Cheng Kar-foo, “We could not draft a law to target a specific situation. It takes a long time to pass a law and the government should be cautious.”

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