The Hong Kong Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) and their various stances on gambling has us baffled?

Often, we don’t know whose side they are playing for and if they actually believe in what they are saying.

In very simplistic terms, whenever they ban betting on a football match, they are not “saving” the youth ofHong Kongfrom the ills and woes of gambling.

Rather, they are actually chasing them into the arms of illegal and offshore bookies.

The HAB seems to be living in this Pollyanna world where everything will be alright and everyone is nice and lovely.

Wake up and smell the calendar and where it is 2011 and the word “gambling” has now become respectable and is called “gaming” and with anyone in Hong Kong with the right credit card being able to join any online games, poker, Texas Hold’ Em, bet on horse racing anywhere in the world, bet on football anywhere in the world and, at any time and, actually, betting on anything and anyone. It’s all a click away.

It’s the Wild West in cyberspace and which the HAB seems either very naïve about or simply do not wish to know about.

By banning the Hong Kong Jockey Club from taking bets on a recent match between Chelsea and Aston Villa because a Hong Kong team was participating in the same tournament showed their blinkered and warped thinking.

According to HKJC sources, 130 illegal and off-shore bookies bet on this match.

Yes, Chelsea won but the real loser wasHong Kong.

It doesn’t take an Einstein to do the maths and figure out how much the Hong Kong Government lost on taxes which would otherwise have come to them and the people of Hong Kong through what they would have taxed the HKJC on takings from this one game.

Did this ban “save” those falling prey to the evils of gambling?

Hell, gambling on the stock market is far more evil and dangerous.

Why doesn’t the HAB butt in and save all of Hong Kongfrom this evil?

Or would this be stepping on the toes of too many who actually runHong Kong?

Consistency is something which appears to befuddle and trip up the HAB.

We read a recent blog on their website which befuddled us, especially the grandiose and almost Holier-Than-Thou ending where all that was missing was a choir of heavenly angels:

“The purpose of inviting foreign teams to play in HK is to promote football sports in Hong Kong and not to increase gambling opportunities.  We have always promoted the concept of “football is for playing not gambling”.  When football betting was legalised some years ago, there was strict regulation prohibiting involvement of local teams by building a “firewall”.  There was a sensational piece of news recently about the corruption incident in Korea involving several players in the national team.  The corruption stemmed from football gambling.  The current HKSAR Govt has launched the Phoenix Project to revitalise football and definitely will not allow the football sport to be led astray by gambling.”

The HAB can “promote” whatever the hell they want, but at the end of the day, that final decision as to whether to pay or play comes from the consumer. No one  not even the god-like HAB can tell them what to do.

As for the sudden mention of a “corruption incident inKoreainvolving several players in the national theme”, well, what’s that got to do with the price of rice?

Is the HAB tarring all football clubs with the same brush?

What the hell do they mean and what are they trying to say or are they, again, kicking an own goal. Or again, playing for another side?

We just don’t understand their illogical logic.

And, yes, full credit to the Government and it’s Project Phoenix initiative to “revitalize” football.

But here’s where the HAB gets it very wrong and are showing their age: How on earth can having a flutter on a football match clip the wings of Project Phoenix?

How can “gambling” lead this initiative “astray”?

How? How? How?