U.S. Commingling of Bets on Hong Kong Races Approved

Horseplayers in the United States will be able to wager directly into Hong Kong Jockey Club pools under a plan approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Hong Kong racing has been available at some U.S. wagering outlets for years, but the bets have gone into separate pools. The HKJC said approval by Nevada regulators is the first major step in distributing the Hong Kong signal to U.S. markets.

The HKJC has a deal with Nevada-based Las Vegas Dissemination Co. to handle the import of its signal and the commingling of wagers.

“We thank the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Gaming Commission for their approval to import Hong Kong’s world-class racing product,” HKJC chief executive officer Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said in a statement. “We have a mission to maintain the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s status as a world leader in racing and sports betting entertainment businesses, and with globalization, we see the importance regarding our brand image.

“Any ventures into overseas markets must be done in the right way, consistent with our commitment for best practices. It is our view there is no better place in the world with respect to best practices than the state of Nevada with its worldwide reputation as a premier regulatory authority in a very competitive gaming environment.  We believe that Nevada is the right entry point for our first overseas commingling venture.”

LVDC president and CEO John Gaughan said the “impact of the Hong Kong races will reverberate throughout the racing and casino industries and will enhance the way American race books and racetracks operate their businesses.” He noted that 78 days of racing during the 2006-07 HKJC season generated handle of $8.2 billion--about half the total handle in the U.S. each year.

The agreement endorses LVDC as the exclusive U.S. hub for commingling bets into the pools of the HKJC. All U.S. wagers will be serviced by LVDC as it disseminates their races to an expanded marketplace, the HKJC said.

Racing in Hong Kong is held at Sha Tin racecourse and Happy Valley. In Nevada, the product will be offered at race books in the evening given the time difference.

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