HKJC Stand Tall – Third Best Season Ever

Commingling turnover shows healthy growth

Always innovating and working to keeping their sport professional and alive, the Hong Kong Jockey Club will simulcast for betting eight races from the Kranji Mile meeting to be held at Kranji Racecourse in Singapore on Sunday, 16 August.

The featured Gr1 Kranji Mile, which Hong Kong galloper Southern Legend won in 2018 and 2019, was postponed from its usual May slot due to the coronavirus crisis. The race is restricted to Singapore-based horses this year.

It’s quite amazing to read a report about the season just past without fingers being pointed at or excuses made about COVID-19!

Fact is that Hong Kong’s total racing turnover for their last season, which ended on 15 July, was HK$121.6 billion, which was down only 2.6 percent on the previous season and was still the third-highest ever despite COVID-19 placing severe pressure on domestic wagering in Hong Kong.

The turnover on Hong Kong racing by Hong Kong customers understandably declined by 8.3 percent due to the effects of the Club’s 100 OCBBs (off course totes) being closed or operating on reduced opening from early February, and fans unable to attend the racecourse for almost half the season.

Turnover dipped by almost 26 percent in early February but wagering rallied through the later part of the season and climaxed with Happy Valley’s record turnover at the finale fixture. The impacts on OCBBs necessitated a change and resulted in the Club helping customers migrate online.

There were further positives as total commingling turnover increased to a record HK$23.58 billion, up 25.3 percent on last season; and Hong Kong racing fans continued to show a growing interest in the sport overseas, as evidenced in the 12.9 percent increase in the Club’s simulcast turnover.

Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges said: “Our overall season’s racing turnover of more than HK$121 billion is pleasing in light of the significant challenges as it only reduced by 2.6 percent. Commingling continues to be a huge growth area for the Club.”

Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges noted the “strategic value of commingling,” in which people from around the world participate and bet on Hong Kong racing, and observed that the figures show the global appeal and growing interest in Hong Kong racing around the world.

“We are pleased with how popular our simulcasts are with Hong Kong customers and we are keen to do more,” he said.

“Furthermore, we are pleased with how much interest our customers have in our simulcast programmes from the leading race meetings around the world. We saw this even more in the second World Pool at Royal Ascot, which proved a huge success – with individual race turnover up by more than 49 percent on 2019 – and we look forward to expanding the World Pool concept next season, with Hong Kong as a vital hub for global wagering.”

The Hong Kong Jockey Club runs racing with a core purpose being the betterment of society as a whole; the Club is the city’s largest tax payer and this racing season alone has paid HK$12.113 billion to the Hong Kong government, while a significant contribution, including special emergency COVID-19 funding support, has been paid in charitable contributions to a wide range of causes.

Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges said: “There was a compelling public interest element to our desire to continue racing through COVID-19, from Chinese New Year to the end of the season, during which time our tax contribution from racing was more than HK$6.2 billon. This has enabled us to not only keep donations at last year’s level but also increase it due to our contributions via the COVID-19 Emergency Fund.

“We are incredibly proud that the Club could continue to make such a contribution and, the benefits of completing a full season will be felt by millions of people across Hong Kong over the coming months.”

The CEO praised the resilience of the Hong Kong community and thanked racing fans, owners, Club members, horsemen, the media, and Club staff in particular, for their patience, dedication and efforts in ensuring the 2019/20 racing season was able to continue in safety.

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