Hong Kong generates record racing turnover

| By Richard Mulligan
Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) generated record turnover of HK$136bn ($15.5bn/£12.6bn) during the 2020/21 racing season, which concluded this week.

The club, which has a government-granted monopoly in providing pari-mutuel betting on horse racing in the region, saw a 12.1% year-on-year increase in turnover through a record 835 races and 88 meetings, which was one more than the number of meetings in 2019/20.

Local races turnover accounted for HK$129.3bn of the total, representing an increase of 11% over the last season. HKJC also simulcasted 206 overseas races through the course of the season, generating HK$7bn, which was up 37.7%.

The World Pool of international races, which was created by the HKJC and launched at Royal Ascot in 2019, saw growth of 108.6% to HK$1.8bn. The co-mingled component was up HK$313m or 88.1%. The Dubai World Cup meeting set a turnover record for an international event of HK$332m in March before the recent Royal Ascot King’s Stand Day surpassed that figure with HK$340m.

Betting duty reached a total of HK$13.7bn, representing a 13.6% increase from the previous year. 

The club said operational highlights of the last year include managing the challenges of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, with health protocols enabling it to continue to host a busy racing season. To ensure racing could continue, it created a bubble at its two local racecourses, Sha Tin Racecourse and Happy Valley Racecourse.

HKJC has also taken steps alongside authorities in the Guangdong Province on the Chinese mainland towards the ambition of hosting a regular international-standard racing programme at its Conghua Racecourse from 2025. This includes the construction of an 8,000-capacity stand at the facility.

Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, HKJC’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have been able to again complete a full season with a clear focus of ensuring racing to continue while upholding the principle of protecting the public health and safety of our employees, stakeholders and the public. The remarkable season turnover has enabled us to contribute more for the betterment of our society.

“Given the circumstances confronting the club, our overall season racing turnover of more than HK$136bn is outstanding. The growth in turnover is testament to the quality of our product and the support of our customers.

“To achieve these types of figures underpins the importance of horse racing to Hong Kong and its people. We are also delighted with how popular our simulcasts are with Hong Kong customers and we are pleased that we will offer more next season.”

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