Following weeks of public discussion surrounding its future, the Macau Jockey Club has seen its 2023/2024 race season schedule approved by local authorities.
In an announcement published on its website on Friday, the race track stated its 2023/2024 season Racing Fixtures List has been approved by the Government, and is scheduled to commence on September 29, 2023.
The new schedule shows the track will include a race almost every week, with some weeks with two races. The MJC will also broadcast races held in Hong Kong and Malaysia.
A recent TDM Canal Macau report indicated that Macau’s sole horse racing betting operation could shutter as early as December, with employees possibly being made redundant afterward.
The MJC has neglected to provide comment on the progress of alleged works it has pledged under its MOP1.5 billion ($185.65 million) redevelopment plan – the basis for which it was given a new concession back in 2018, running until 2042.
In statements to TDM and Macau Daily News, the MJC confirmed that it had reapplied for a new racing season to commence on September 29th, and run until August of 2024, claiming that it had no intention of closing in December of this year, although the promised development projects under its concession having not yet been initiated.
University of Macau Faculty of Business Administration associate professor Ricardo Siu recently told AGB that the racetrack could still contribute to the SAR’s overall tourist attractiveness and its financial woes should be considered a critical issue for the city.
The Macau Jockey Club recorded accumulated losses of MOP2.1 billion ($260.2 million) in 2022, an increase of about MOP200 million ($24.7 million) compared to the previous year, while horse racing revenues dropped from MOP47 million ($5.8 million) in 2021 to MOP39 million ($4.8 million) in 2022.
Horse racing contributed MOP22 million ($2.7 million) to the gross gaming revenue in the first half of thi year, while Macau’s overall gross gaming revenue reached MOP80.4 billion ($9.9 billion) in the first six months of the year.
As a comparison, the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) has announced a rise in revenue of up to HK$141 billion ($17.9 billion) during the 2022/23 season.
The number of horses in Macau has also decreased from a peak of 1,200 twenty years ago to about 220 currently, and the number of races per year has also decreased from 1,200 in 2003 to just one race per week. Under the new contract, the MJC also has until 2042 to increase its operations to over 1,200 races per year.