HKJC warns of triad-linked bookies betting on Australian racing

Hong Kong’s racing authority has warned of triad-linked offshore Asian bookmakers taking a growing share of revenue from the Australian industry, local media reports.

A submission by the Hong Kong Jockey Club to Barry O’Farrell’s review of the online gambling industry, which has not been made public, “Illegal Betting Markets and Links with Organised Crime” outlines the major integrity and revenue risks as a result of illegal Asian bookmaking operations operating in the industry.

One particular Asian operator was reported to see turnover of $930 million (US$660.8 million) per year, representing 8 percent of total turnover from Australian licensed tote operators. The submission highlights the strong interest in Australian racing and sports from these illegal operators. The submission was produced by former senior police official, now HKJC security and integrity director Martin Purbrick and Andrew Harding, the head of HKJC’s racing authority and secretary-general of the Asian Racing Federation.

The submission also alleges the links that these Asian operators have with criminal figures. It cites IBCBET, which is part-owned by Paul Phua, a gambling magnate who is said to have ties with Hong Kong’s 14k triad society.

According to the submission, 40,000 visits from Australia IP addresses had been recorded to unlicensed operators such as SBOBET and CITIbet in the six months to Sept. 2015.