Border closures and the wider impact of the COVID-19 pandemic did little to stymy the Hong Kong Jockey Club with the 2020/21 racing season resulting in an all-time turnover record of HK$136 billion (US$17.5 billion).
With the season coming to a close with its 88th meeting on Wednesday night, racing turnover grew 12.1% year-on-year to exceed HK$130 billion for the first time. The 835 races and 206 simulcast overseas races were also both records, helping push betting duty up by 13.6% to HK$13.7 billion.
Turnover from simulcast races alone grew 37.7% to HK$7 billion, with the Dubai World Cup meeting in March setting a simulcast turnover record of HK$332 million, only to be beaten by the Royal Ascot King’s Stand Day in June at HK$340 million.
Total turnover on World Pool meetings was up 108.6%, while the commingled component was up 88.1%, The HKJC said.
The fact that the season was able to progress at all was hailed as a success story with The HKJC creating a “racing bubble” at its two racecourses – Sha Tin and Happy Valley.
“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,” said The HKJC CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges.
“The remarkable season turnover has enabled us to contribute more for the betterment of our society.
“I am thankful to our employees for their dedication and hard work, and to our licensed persons who demonstrated strong integrity to keeping racing going. Through their efforts, we were able to provide valuable stay-at-home entertainment for hundreds of thousands of racing fans at a time when social distancing was of paramount importance,” said Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges.
“I also appreciate the understanding amongst our supporters that as a result of our alignment with the Government’s public health policy, restricted number of people were allowed back on-course. With the improving COVID-19 situation, sooner than later, I am looking forward to a return to normality and we can welcome back all of our customers to our great race-tracks.”
The HKJC is a non-profit organization and the single largest tax payer in Hong Kong.