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Horse Racing to Sweep China

18 May 2004

BEIJING – As reported by KRT Wire: ``At the Beijing Jockey Club, you can wager a good sum on a horse race. Just don't call it betting. China's Communist government forbids gambling, believing it smacks of bourgeois sin and decadence.

``Government officials, however, allow fans to "guess" on the outcome of horse races.

``Fans who "guess" which horses will win weekend races are engaged in a game of skill, the official logic goes. When they put money on their guesses, they're allowed to pocket their winnings.

``For all practical purposes, it's similar to the wagering that's made horse racing big business around the world, and the owners of the Beijing Jockey Club are betting that China may soon permit racing - and off-track betting - on a grand scale. Indeed, development of the track may be a bellwether for the future of legalized betting in China, where citizens have long had a passion for Lady Luck.

``One of those betting big on horse racing in China is Y.P. Cheng, a Hong Kong toy tycoon who's spent more than $50 million to make the Beijing Jockey Club a state-of-the-art track.

``…The dream is to turn the Beijing Jockey Club into a premier racecourse that may rival tracks in Hong Kong and Macao, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997 and 1999 respectively. Promoters foresee a major racing circuit in China…"

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