Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Sunday, Feb 25, 2024

Hong Kong Jockey Club ‘overreacting’ to potential football betting tax raise

Hong Kong Jockey Club ‘overreacting’ to potential football betting tax raise

Exco convenor Regina Ip doubles down on party’s proposal ahead of coming budget address.

A top Hong Kong government adviser has said the Jockey Club had overreacted to her party’s proposal to raise the football betting tax, stressing that she believes unlike horse racing, operations for the former cost much less.

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, convenor of key decision-making body the Executive Council, on Sunday also reiterated that there was no need to hand out more consumption vouchers in next month’s budget address, because most people would only spend on necessities that would have little effect on boosting the economy.

New People’s Party, chaired by Ip, last Thursday suggested increasing the football betting duty from 50 to 80 per cent of revenue, a move it said would bring in HK$5.9 billion (US$753 million) for the city’s coffers.

Regina Ip, convenor of the Executive Council.

In a lengthy statement issued later that day, the club said the proposed raise might result in a deficit in operations, which would “destroy” its business model and jeopardise public interest.

The club raked in HK$19.7 billion in earnings from football bets in the financial year ending June 30, 2022, compared with HK$19.4 billion for horse racing.

Ip on Sunday defended her party’s proposal on a radio programme, saying she believed there was room for a tax increase because football betting was run at a lower cost.

“In horse racing there are horses to feed and other maintenance works, but in football betting it is just about designing a programme. They should contribute more money to the government,” she argued.

Ip added the Jockey Club was overreacting to her party’s proposal, which was a response to a government consultation ahead of the budget address.

“There is no organisation that can completely deny people’s suggestions and call for evaluation. It is impossible to shut everything out,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the Jockey Club on Sunday said the organisation had no further comment beyond its earlier statement.

Ip’s party also argued the government should not launch another round of consumption vouchers, taking a position at odds with most other political groups.

Ip maintained that as many residents had been spending the vouchers on necessities such as transport and groceries, a further round of vouchers would not deliver a considerable boost to the economy. She argued the easing of Covid-19 pandemic rules, such as the scrapping of isolation orders starting on Monday, would have a greater impact.

The needy would be better served through more targeted relief measures, such as rent waivers for public housing, she said.

The government should rein in spending as the recent increase in recurring expenditure had outpaced economic growth, which was inconsistent with the principle laid out in the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution, she argued.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po noted in his Sunday blog that “cutting expenditure is a must” in next month’s budget to deal with the huge fiscal deficit. Relief measures in place for years might be trimmed, but a blanket cut was probably not appropriate given the economy was only starting to recover, he said.

“When considering different measures, we will minimise the impact on vulnerable groups as far as possible, but we also hope everyone can understand and support the necessary cut in expenditure and even the possible need to share extra tax burden.”

On Saturday, Chan told a public forum he would consider a tax break for middle-class families hiring foreign domestic workers to help households cope with the pressures of a post-pandemic economy.

Chan also told the forum the government was still undecided on whether to continue its consumption voucher scheme. Residents received HK$5,000 in 2021 and HK$10,000 last year, costing the government a total of HK$102.4 billion.

The Society for Community Organisation, which assists low-income residents, called on the government to distribute HK$10,000 in cash to residents living below the poverty line.

“[If we’re] short on money, let’s be more precise and give money to residents who are actually facing more hardship,” said the organisation’s deputy director Sze Lai-shan.

The NGO also proposed increasing profits tax and introduction of windfall tax that targeted certain industries.

The finance minister recently projected a budget deficit exceeding HK$100 billion for the current financial year, almost twice his estimate in February last year. The city’s reserves could also fall to about HK$800 billion, equivalent to 12 months of government spending, according to Chan, who on Sunday revised this figure up from a previously reported 11 months.

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.