Macau’s government is refusing to provide specifics on the fate of the Macau Jockey Club, after it was revealed last week that the property was no longer able to accept bets from numerous countries and could even close within this year.
In statements to TDM and Oumun, 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. The application is reportedly pending.
This counters previous reports by TDM Canal Macau, which indicated that Macau’s sole horse racing betting operation could shutter as early as December, with employees possibly being made redundant afterwards.
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.
Sources told TDM Canal Macau that no large-scale construction was currently underway at the MJC, despite its concession plan encompassing hotels, residential, theme park and other non-gaming facilities.
Some of these facilities are supposed to be finished in 2024, with others having an end date of 2026.
While horse racing falls under a public concession, the government has not provided response to enquiries over the millions in debts owed by MJC for reportedly breaking the law by not having sufficient capital over years of operations prior to its concession renewal.
Meanwhile, Macau’s gaming watchdog, the DICJ, has merely said it would not respond to ‘rumors’ and that it will conduct its oversight work in accordance with the law and the concession contract.
The DICJ also didn’t confirm to TDM Canal Macau whether any works were currently underway at the property, in order to properly fulfil its contract and keep its gaming concession.
The company is run by late gaming magnate Stanley Ho’s wife Angela Leong, who is also a co-Chairman and Executive Director of legacy gaming operator SJM.
The Macau broadcaster indicated last week that MJC could no longer accept bets from abroad, including Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.
It also noted that the import of horses from Australia had been cancelled by authorities, with some 30 horses awaiting embarkation in the country.
Given the lack of transparency by both the government and the company, it’s unclear how much investment MJC has actually made into developments under the concession, however the property is outwardly dilapidated, and previous reports indicate conditions within are not ideal.