Hong Kong Jockey Club inks UK Tote commingling deal


hong-kong-jockey-club-uk-tote-comminglingThe Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) has ensured its massive betting pools grow even larger after inking a commingling deal with the UK Tote.

On Tuesday, the HKJC announced that UK punters would be able to place wagers on the HKJC’s pari-mutuel tote pools starting with Wednesday’s race meeting at Happy Valley. Satellite Information Services will distribute the live broadcasts to audiences in UK betting shops.

The deal will allow UK operators including UK Tote owner Betfred and the newly united Coral and Ladbrokes to offer HJKC betting pools via online and retail. The HKJC says it anticipates signing deals with other UK operators in the coming months. However, UK punters will not have access to fixed-odds wagering on Hong Kong races.

George Irvine, the HKJC’s Commingling Development Director, welcomed UK punters into the pool while celebrating the fact that “Hong Kong racing will be available in thousands of retail betting outlets while future agreements we are finalizing will enable later delivery direct to millions of UK households.”

The HKJC was granted the right to commingle its pools in 2013 and these efforts have accelerated of late. Last month, the HKJC began a wagering and broadcasting deal with Toronto’s Woodbine Entertainment Group, while promising that a similar arrangement will be finalized in British Columbia by the end of 2016.

Racing remains the HKJC’s raison d’être, but its recent 2015-16 annual report card showed race betting turnover rising a mere 1.8% to HKD 107b, while football turnover was up nearly 11% to HKD 87b, leaving one wondering if the Club will one day be forced to rework all its signage to read HKFC.

The HKJC was likely celebrating the Australian government’s decision this month to shut down the Norfolk Island Gaming Authority for (among other crimes) issuing a license to BetHQ, which had a white label deal with Asian betting exchange CITIbet, a site that the HJKC has long viewed as its personal bête noire.