CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION AND ISSUES FOR
1.1 The long-established Government policy is to restrict commercial
gambling opportunities (other than social gambling) to a limited number
of authorized outlets only. The rationale is that while limited gambling
outlets may be allowed to meet public demand, they should be authorized
and regulated so that gambling opportunities would not become excessive
as to be detrimental to the community. There are thus relatively few
authorized outlets in Hong Kong, as compared to many other jurisdictions.
This policy has been well accepted by the public.
1.2 In recent years, however, there have been mounting challenges to
our gambling regime. Most notably, soccer betting has become
increasingly popular and widespread, both in terms of the number of
people participating in it and the betting money involved. The problems
needs to be addressed through a review of the gambling policy.
1.3 Against this background, the Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) has
conducted a review of a range of gambling-related issues, to identify
problems in the existing practices and to recommend solutions.
Research has been conducted into the relevant practices and
developments in other jurisdictions. We have also been closely
monitoring public opinions and have from time to time received
representations from concern groups and individuals on various gambling
1.4 We recognize that gambling is a contentious subject. We
belie ve that a thorough public consultation exercise will help focus the
community on the key issues. Accordingly, this Consultation Paper
invites public views on the following issues:
(a) whether the Government should, as a matter of principle,
adhere to its existing policy of restricting gambling
opportunities to a limited number of authorized outlets only
(Chapter 2, paragraphs 2.2 - 2.7);
(b) whether, as one of the possible ways to tackle the growing
problem of illegal soccer betting (Chapter 3),...