The Asian Racing Federation Council on Anti-illegal Betting and Related Financial Crime (“the Council”) this week released a new report: “A Report of Illegal Betting Growth during the Covid-19 Pandemic”.
The purpose of the report is to examine the global impact of the pandemic on horse race betting and betting on other sports in Hong Kong, Asia, and globally. This report finds that illegal betting on horse racing and other sports in Hong Kong is estimated to have increased between 10% to 20% during the pandemic. It also includes details of the involvement of Macau casino junkets in online illegal betting (as well as other gambling and financial crime), the illegal betting situation in Mainland China, the growing expansion of illegal betting operators across Asia (in particular in Myanmar), and a discussion of how the global situation has changed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic during 2020.
Martin Purbrick, the Chairman of the Council, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic changed how people bet on sports during 2020, and this has possible implications for longer term changes in betting markets. The initial absence of the most popular sports for betting led to a surge of betting on alternative sports and competitions. Illegal betting operators led this change as they can adapt quickly without regulatory constraints. The pandemic drove more people to bet with illegal betting operators, and has led to increased revenue for organized crime groups involved in this business.”