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Hong Kong online sports betting laws

The position on the legality of online Hong Kong gambling could not be clearer. It’s legal to wager on horse racing and soccer – as long as you use the only licensed operator in the region. If you don’t, you run the risk of prosecution. Despite that, plenty still do…

Is sports betting legal in Hong Kong?

There is no escaping the fact that the laws governing Hong Kong gambling on sport are incredibly strict. The only consolation is that, unlike the case in many other parts of China, and Asia in general, there is absolutely no ambiguity around what is and what is not permitted. Essentially, if you are in Hong Kong you are allowed to bet on horse racing and soccer – provided you use the only organization licensed to operate in the region, the Hong Kong Jockey Club. The club’s non-profit status and monopoly on legal gambling activities in Hong Kong makes it the largest taxpayer in the region. Its online platform also allows bettors to wager on local and international horse racing, as well as soccer from international events and the major leagues across the world.

This means there are plenty of opportunities to bet on those two sports; but you can’t bet on other popular sports such as basketball, cricket or tennis. Additionally, there are no welcome bonuses and no in-play betting or live streaming of events. There is no dedicated mobile app. And, it has to be said, the odds are slightly less generous than those you’ll find at most international sportsbooks. However, the option of betting with reputable offshore firms is not very attractive. Section 8 of Hong Kong’s Gambling Ordinance states clearly: “Any person who bets with a bookmaker commits an offence and is liable… whether the bet is received within or outside Hong Kong."

The reference to location is significant; it means there is no loophole allowing you to bet with an offshore sportsbook. As a result, many reputable firms simply will not accept registrations from potential customers if they have a Hong Kong address. Of course, some companies do still offer online betting facilities – and plenty of people within Hong Kong run the risk by betting with them – to the tune of billions of Hong Kong dollars each year. How big is that risk? Well, for a first offence as a bettor, you could face a fine of more than US$1,000 and three months in jail, while operators are looking at a fine of up to US$650,000 and two years’ imprisonment for a first offence.

What odds format is used in Hong Kong?

Decimal odds

Whether you want to bet in person at one of Hong Kong’s two popular racecourses, or online at the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s betting website, the odds you find will be in a decimal format. This is the most common way of presenting the probability of an outcome and is used across Europe and Australasia.

Let’s say you want to bet on the favorite in the first race at Sha Tin. The odds you see on the website may be 4.0. That means for every $10 you stake, you receive $40 if your selection is a winner. The same wager, with the same return, will look different in other parts of the world. In the UK and Ireland, for instance, where fractional odds are preferred, the horse in question would be 3/1. However, in the USA and Canada, where many operators use the moneyline, the odds would be +300.

Top sports in Hong Kong

Soccer

Soccer is the world’s biggest sport and, given the British influence over Hong Kong’s colonial past, it is no surprise that it has a long history and still remains hugely popular here. Hong Kong soccer has its own professional league, one of the oldest in Asia, with four divisions including the Premier League. The fact that soccer is one of the sports on which you are allowed to bet through the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s website also helps to boost its profile here. Odds are available on international matches and the biggest leagues in Europe and elsewhere.

Hong Kong sports betting FAQs

Is online gambling legal in Hong Kong?
How do you bet on horse racing in Hong Kong?
What is the most popular sport in Hong Kong?