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Hong Kong Puts Race and Sports Books in Winner's Circle

10 October 2007

Last month a blockbuster business deal was announced that has the potential to impact betting on horse races as much as a world-wide area of linked machines would impact betting on slots: Live simulcasting and legalization of co-mingled betting on races from the renowned 123-year-old Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Thoroughbred horse racing is the number one spectator sport in the Hong Kong region. Betting handle on a typical day's races exceeds $100 million. When bets from American horse players are co-mingled in pools of that magnitude, which are unheard of at U.S. tracks except for the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup, it sets the stage for monster payoffs and value for serious handicappers.

The Chinese government had previously been very protective of the sport and banned foreign betting on its races, which are conducted twice a week at two tracks in Hong Kong from early September to early July.

The racing cards in Hong Kong start at 11 pm Eastern, which means the venues will beef up interest in horse racing action during late evening time in Las Vegas and serve to create new excitement in race and sports books elsewhere around the country.

Las Vegas Dissemination Company (LVDC), the exclusive pari-mutuel service provider for Nevada's gaming industry and all major out-of-state casinos, inked the deal with the Hong Kong Jockey Club and will act as the exclusive provider of full betting services and live broadcast of the races.

Vincent Magliulo, LVDC's vice president of marketing and corporate development, said that his company is hopeful of selling the Hong Kong signal to off-track betting and simulcast locations around the United States, which means it may eventually come to the Chicago area.

Horse racing is wildly popular in Hong Kong, and the races from that country have the potential to attract a big following here. The brand of sport that's presented has a tradition of excellence among the international thoroughbred community.

One of the greatest American-born jockeys in the history of the sport, Bill Hartack, relocated to Hong Kong in the mid-70s and rode regularly there in the twilight of his career.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board early in August recommended to the Nevada Gaming Commission that it approve the Hong Kong Jockey Club to receive a percentage of the handle on its races from books in Nevada. The commission gave its stamp of approval, and now plans are being finalized to introduce the product at Vegas race and sports books where horse racing is big business.

Interest is high among Nevada casinos and is even spreading nationally. The giant Native American owned Foxwoods Resort Casino obtained exclusive rights in Connecticut to present racing from Hong Kong in its Ultimate Race Book.

Foxwoods is rolling out racing from Hong Kong this Sunday evening (Sept. 30) with a gala grand opening program. Response from bettors in Connecticut will be monitored closely by officials from horse racing jurisdictions around the country. If successful, it just may be the boost that the racing industry needs.

CASINO NEWS: The Majestic Star Casinos in Gary, Indiana is turning up the heat in its poker room October 7 - 14 with a week-long Poker Challenge that's certain to attract the attention of poker player throughout the Midwest.

Dom Niro, the Majestic's poker room manager, has a full slate of events on tap highlighted by No Limit Texas Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, and Limit H.O.S.E. events The final two days of the competition will feature the No Limit Hold'em Championship which will offer a prize pool of $288,000 based on 210 players.

For details please visit www.majesticstarcasino.com or contact the poker room directly at 219-977-7444.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp