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Racing row escalates between Betfair, HKJC

The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) has demanded that Betfair Australia “immediately cease and desist” from offering a betting exchange on Hong Kong racing over beliefs that offering such an exchange “represents a serious integrity issue”.

In a letter dated September 4 to Betfair chief executive Tim Moore-Barton, the HKJC describes the Australian launch of exchange wagering and in-play betting on its races on September 1 as “cavalier, unconscionable and in careless disregard for the economic value of a premium international racing product”.

“The club has also sent formal letters to Betfair and its parent company, Crown Resorts, demanding them to immediately cease and desist from offering wagering via its betting exchange platform (including in-play betting) on Hong Kong racing, and any related promotion or advertising for the purpose,” HKJC added.

HKJC also said Betfair is acting without a licence or its permission, adding it has “zero-tolerance” towards issues relating to integrity and intellectual property rights. The club runs nearly 700 horse races per year and has a legal monopoly over betting on horse racing in the Chinese region.

Betfair announced its betting offer on Hong Kong racing on 21 August and inaugurated it with the Sha Tin race meeting on 1 September.

“Our punters have been asking for Hong Kong racing for several years, and we have been working on it for just as long. I’m really excited to allow punters to legally bet against each other on some of the best horse racing in the world,” said Betfair chief executive Tim Moore-Barton last month.

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