- Hong Kong Jockey Club facing uncertain future
- Bridge to Macau and disinterest among younger generation key threats to its future
The Hong Kong Jockey Club has long had an important role to play in the territory’s economy. Founded in 1884, it doesn’t have any shareholders and money leftover after payments are made goes to various community and charity projects.
It’s the single largest charity donator in all of Hong Kong and, with donations of around $500 million in 2015, it’s the sixth biggest donator in the world. Unfortunately, the institution seems to be facing troubling times ahead because decreasing interest and increasing competition – particularly form the growing gambling sector in Macau.
Threats to the Hong Kong Jockey Club
The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge is due to open in December later this year. Once open, it will provide easy access to the world’s gambling capital, Macau, whose gambling revenue is over seven times that of Las Vegas.
It’s the only place in China where gambling is legal and its ever-growing gambling industry is fuelled by millions of Chinese gamblers. The other key threat is a growing disinterest among the younger generation.
For the season ending mid-July 2016, there was a 1.7% decrease in the amount of money spent on betting compared to the previous year. According to David Dodwell, CEO of Strategic Access Ltd., a challenge facing the Hong Kong Jockey Club is how to remain relevant and appeal to younger people who, it seems, are increasingly seeing horse racing as something belonging to the older generation.
Global expansion and other efforts
According to Richard Cheung, Head of Marketing at the Jockey Club: “Hong Kong is a very small place… to seek growth we must go elsewhere”. Over the past few years, the institution has been attracting overseas revenue through commingling, which refers to allowing people from other countries to bet on races held in Hong Kong.
Some of the growing number of countries where you can bet on Hong Kong horse races include Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Ireland, Macau and parts of the US.
As well as attempting to expand globally, the institution has in recent years increased the number of races it holds. It’s also looking to develop a horse training facility in China so as to be prepared for when horse racing eventually becomes legal in the country.
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