Asian operator Hong Kong Jockey Club will resume draws for its Mark Six lottery game from 24 September, after a suspension stretching back to February.
At first, the operator will offer only online and telebet services for the purchase of tickets.
No sales will be made at HKJC’s off-course betting branches (OCBBs), in order to avoid public health risked posed by the novel coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic.
Customers may still visit OCCBs to set up their HKJC e-wallets, or open or reactivate betting accounts, as well as setting up fund transfer facilities for purchasing tickets in the future. If the pandemic continues to stabilise, the operator will resume the sale of tickets in OCBBs in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Draws will be held once a week initially, with the first three taking place on 24 September, 29 September and 8 October. For the first draw, tickets will be made available from 17 September.
The lottery was initially suspended in mid-February due to the impact of the pandemic. As a result, revenue for the product was down 39.0% year-on-year in 2020. However, HKJC said that this vertical would have declined even without the pandemic, due to a lack of significant changes to the game format since its introduction.
The operator recognised that its customers are “eagerly expecting” the return of the draws, and that Mark Six revenues are a major source of the Lotteries Fund to finance social welfare services.
Hong Kong’s racing season resumed on 6 September, with the first race at Sha Tin seeing HK$1.38bn (£137.1m/€150.8m/$177.5m) staked, an increase of 6.8% from 2019 and a record for a season-opening fixture.
The record was achieved despite HKJC’s continuing restrictions on racecourse attendance which allows only for only owners, trainers, media and officials to attend.
Commingling, which accounts for money bet overseas into Hong Kong pools, accounted for HK$247 million of turnover, up 18.0% from the previous year.