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(Source : Government Information Centre)

LC: Speech on first resolution made under Betting Duty Ordinance

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Following is the speech by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Frederick Ma, in moving the resolution made under section 6(3) of the Betting Duty Ordinance in the Legislative Council today (June 11):

Madam President,

I move that the first resolution standing in my name as set out on the agenda be passed. The resolution seeks to implement the Budget proposal to increase the duty on exotic horse racing bets put forward by the Financial Secretary on March 5.

The Financial Secretary proposed in his 2003-04 Budget Speech to increase the duty on exotic horse racing bets from 19% to 20%. It is estimated that an additional revenue of $150 million will be generated from this in a full year.

In view of the serious problem of fiscal deficit, we must implement the revenue measures proposed in the Budget in order to alleviate our fiscal position and help achieve fiscal balance gradually.

Betting duty is an important and stable source of recurrent revenue. In 2002-03, it generated $11.1 billion, representing over 7% of total government revenue. Of this, revenue from the duty on horse racing bets amounted to $9.7 billion, with $2.7 billion coming from exotic bets. Exotic bets refer to six-up, treble, tierce, trio, double trio and triple trio. A mild adjustment of the duty rate on exotic bets will not affect people's livelihood.

At present, 76% of the turnover on exotic bets goes to payouts, 19% to betting duty and the remaining 5% to the Hong Kong Jockey Club's commission. The first motion proposes that the betting duty rate on exotic bets be slightly increased to 20%. I will move another motion in a short while to reduce the payout rate from 76% to 75% accordingly.

Subject to Members' approval of the resolution, the adjustment will take effect from August 1. Starting from the next horse racing season, betting duty on exotic bets will be imposed at the new rate.

Madam President, with these remarks, I call upon Members to support the Government's resolution.

End/Wednesday, June 11, 2003

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