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1st horse races since 1949 gallop onto the mainland
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Orient Lucky City is more than 1 million square meters and is the biggest horse breeding base in the country with a capacity of 2,000 horses.

On November 15, the largest jumbotron in China at 480 square meters was set up at the Wuhan racecourse.

Qin Zunwen, an expert in horse race betting, told the newspaper that once a nationwide network is created, it could create three million jobs a year.

He said in his research report that annual lottery sales could reach a staggering 100 billion yuan, yielding 40 billion yuan in tax revenues.

"Offering a legal venue to bet on horse races could drive out illegal online gambling," he was quoted as saying.

Betting on horse races is different from other forms of gambling. Most revenue from bets will be returned to holders of winning tickets or be spent on public welfare projects and the horse racing industry, Qin told the newspaper.

Wuhan started to study the feasibility of introducing betting on horse racing in 2005 and has since submitted several reports to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. The city was once a center for horse racing in the early 1900s, where foreign and Chinese businessmen developed the top three race courses in the country.

But the sport was banned on the Chinese mainland in 1949 when the Communist Party came to power. It wasn't until the early 1990s that it reappeared after national races were organized and jockey clubs set up.

Wuhan is now home to more than 500 race horses and has held the country's biggest equestrian festival annually every autumn since 2003.

Horse racing has long been a part of life in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club is the largest taxpayer in Hong Kong, as well as the largest private donor of charity funds. In August 2007, the organization said its total turnover from all operations for the 2006/07 racing season passed HK$100 billion (US$12.82 billion) for the first time, according to the Hong Kong Racing Journal.

The journal said the club paid some HK$12.64 billion to the Hong Kong SAR Government in betting duty and profits tax, representing an estimated 8.2 percent of total tax collected by the Inland Revenue Department. In addition, a further HK$1.05 billion was directly donated to some 107 community and charitable projects.

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