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Macau Jockey Club to cease operating horse racing from April

| By Marese O'Hagan
The Macau Horse Racing Company has agreed to cease offering horse racing from 1 April 2024.
Racecourse Media Group Dowding

Today (15 January), the Macau Horse Racing Company – which operates the Macau Jockey Club – signed an agreement with the special administrative region’s government. This agreement terminated the concession awarded to the Club to exclusively operate horse racing in Macau.

Lei Wai Nong, secretary for economy and finance, signed the agreement on behalf of the government.

Request to cease concession

The Macau Horse Racing Company submitted a request to the government to terminate the concession last year. The company cited difficulties in operations and a lacklustre horse racing environment as reasons for the termination request.

“Macau Horse Racing Company Limited has been operating at a loss, accumulated in excess of MOP2.5bn,” read a statement from the company.

“Moreover, there has been limited room for development and growth of the horse racing industry in Macau over the years and, including the adverse effect brought about by pandemic over these last three years, it has become increasingly difficult to sustain the operations.”

“The board of directors has had to make a difficult decision and, commencing from 1 April 2024, the company will cease all racing related operations.”

Inside the termination agreement

As part of the agreement, the Macau Horse Racing Company agreed to handle the labour rights and benefits due for employees affected by the termination.

It will also facilitate the transportation of horses to other approved locations by 31 March 2025.

In 2018, the government signed an extension to the original concession with the Macau Horse Racing Company. At the time, it agreed to an additional 24 years and six months. This would have see the concession come to an end on 31 August 2045.

The Macau Jockey Club was created through a contract signed by the Portuguese government and shareholders active at the time. The Club has been the subject of financial issues since 1989.

In 1991, the Club undertook a restructuring which allowed it to continue operating.

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