CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
The Hong Kong Jockey Club
POWER SCORE: 1,335
POSITION LAST YEAR: 14
CLAIMS TO FAME
- Driving force behind the modernization and revitalization of the HKJC
- Has helped HKJC become Hong Kong’s biggest employer
- Ensured HKJC completed two full racing seasons in the face of COVID-19
WHETHER IT WAS down to expert management or perhaps just a determination by Hong Kong’s government not to lose its best revenue source, The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) did what very few gaming-related organizations managed through the COVID-19 pandemic it became even more profitable.
Under the watch of Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges – now in his 13th year as CEO – The HKJC didn’t miss a beat, completing two full racing seasons and, having experienced only a slight downturn in the 2019/20 season, achieving all-time record turnover of HK$279.70 billion (US$36.0 billion) in 2020/21, up 27.9% year-on-year.
The record result included a 12.3% increase in racing turnover to HK$136.1 billion (US$17.5 billion) and a 51.4% rise in football wagering to HK$140.2 billion (US$18.0 billion), slightly offset by a decline in the Mark Six lottery due to its suspension between February and mid-September 2020 for public health reasons.
The HKJC said in September of this year that a total of HK$29.4 billion (US$3.8 billion) was returned to the community in 2020/21 including HK$24.9 billion (US$3.2 billion) to the Government in duty, profits tax and Lotteries Fund contributions and HK$4.5 billion (US$578.6 million) in approved charity donations.
It is this massive contribution that sees HKJC as the single largest taxpayer in Hong Kong, continuing the remarkable legacy Engelbrecht-Bresges has built.
Arriving in 1998 as racing director before taking on the top job nine years later, the former German youth football team player has transformed The HKJC from a second-rate, highly introverted organization to one that is the envy of the racing world. Under his watch, The HKJC has invested millions into transforming almost every aspect of the business – from redevelopment of Sha Tin Racecourse under the Racecourse Master Plan to the quality of horses running and extensive customer segmentation work to provide a complete race day experience.
The vastly improved product that is Hong Kong racing has subsequently enjoyed an explosion in popularity which has transferred directly to the betting ring.
And it doesn’t look like momentum will slow any time soon. Having already booked a record season through September 2021, The HKJC also smashed the previous record for opening day turnover with total betting reaching HK$1.44 billion (US$185 million) for the first meet of the 2021/2022 season.
In a nod to his achievements in Hong Kong, Engelbrecht-Bresges was appointed Chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities in October, becoming just the second chairman in the IFHA’s history following the retirement of long-serving Louis Romanet.
The IFHA aims to ensure member nations are well regulated and follow best practices in areas such as breeding, racing, wagering and animal welfare.
For the full list of 2021 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.