The Hong Kong Jockey Club has reported racing turnover of HK$121.6 billion (US$15.68 billion) in the 2019/20 season, just 2.6% down on the previous season and the third highest of all time despite the impact of COVID-19.
While turnover on local racing by Hong Kong customers suffered a heavier toll – down 8.3% year-on-year due to off-course betting branches experiencing closures and reduced hours in recent months – HKJC was able to overcome a 26% decline in turnover in early February to finish the season strongly.
The recovery included single fixture record turnover of HK$1.6 billion (US$206.3 million) during the season finale at Happy Valley on Wednesday.
“While we recognize that the Coronavirus situation is an ongoing battle, and we must remain vigilant, I can say that it has been heartening to see the Hong Kong community pull together and play a crucial part in combatting its effects,” said HKJC CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges.
“The HKJC has been quick to reflect and enact those safeguarding measures and policies while continuing to race.
“We are pleased to have been able to complete a full season but of course our prime focus throughout, and a real challenge, was to act responsibly to protect the public health and safety of our staff, customers and the wider community, at every turn, while at the same time balancing that with the desire for our sport to continue.”
HKJC reported 25.3% increase in total commingling turnover for the season to HK$23.58 billion (US$3.04 billion), while simulcast turnover grew 12.9%.
The organization said it paid HK$12.11 billion (US$1.56 billion) to the Hong Kong government in taxes during the 2019/20 season.
“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,” Engelbrecht-Bresges said.