The Japan Racing Association (JRA) has announced horse racing events in the country will remain behind closed doors due to ongoing efforts to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
Race meetings were shut to the public on 29 February, but the JRA last month said Niigata Racecourse would reopen to spectators for the period between 15 August and 6 September.
However, due to concerns over an increase in positive Covid-19 cases in Japan in recent weeks, the JRA has suspended the reopening of the venue, with racing to remain behind closed doors.
Events at the Kokura and Sapporo Racecourses will continue behind closed doors, with the JRA yet to announce any plans to welcome customers back to the tracks.
“As this suspension comes after a reopening was already announced, we must apologise for the great inconvenience caused our customers who had already reserved or purchased reserved seats,” the JRS said. “We also apologise for the concern this may have caused customers of JRA racing.”
Last month, the JRA also said that it was to continue reopening off-track betting facilities, with all venues subject to limited opening hours and customers subject to strict safety protocols.
Customers can cash out winning tickets and place bets, but televised racing and odds information are not currently being shown in the outlets. Hours of business are also restricted to between 9am and 2pm.
Despite the shutdown of retail betting, the first half of the JRA’s 2020 season, which ran to 28 June, saw sales rise 1.5% year-on-year to JPY1.48tn (£10.70bn/€11.86bn/$13.94bn), with customers still able to bet online.