The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) posted another record performance in its most recent fiscal year thanks to a double-digit rise in sports betting revenue.
Last week, the HKJC turned in its fiscal 2015-16 report card, covering the 12 months ending June 30, aka “another outstanding year.” Turnover was up nearly 6% to HKD 202.7b (US $26.1b) while the Hong Kong government took home a record sum of HKD 20.9b in duty and profits tax.
Counting a further HKD 1.3b payment to the Lotteries Fund and HKD 3.9b in charitable contributions – double the sum from just three years ago – the HKJC’s total return to the community was up 4% year-on-year to HKD 26.1b.
Racing remains the HKJC’s bread and butter, and racing turnover was up 1.8% to HKD 107b in 2015-16. But football betting posted the biggest gain, as turnover jumped 10.9% to HKD 86.8b. HKJC CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges called football “undoubtedly our key revenue driver,” adding that the vertical “contributed very significantly to our operating surplus.”
The Mark Six lottery, which reported a small decline in 2014-15, returned to form with sales of HKD 8.55b (+9.9%), thanks in part to a new record jackpot this spring.
Looking forward, the HKJC expects a stronger showing from racing, as the total number of race meetings will rise from 84 to 88 in 2016-17, while simulcast days will go from 15 last year to 23 next season.
It’s been two years since the HKJC was given the nod to commingle its race betting pools with operators in other jurisdictions. While commingling’s contribution to overall racing turnover remains small (3.3%), the HKD 3.5b earned from other jurisdictions represented a 31.5% gain over the previous year.
Engelbrecht-Bresges called commingling “a very promising area of growth, rich with potential benefit.” The HKJC currently has 13 commingling partners and intends to explore further opportunities in Europe over the coming season.
The HKJC is also investing in a “multi-billion next generation customer information and wagering system” to meet customers’ needs for speed, convenience and connectivity.
As usual, Engelbrecht-Bresges couldn’t resist a swipe at internationally licensed online betting operators, saying they had “no regard for the social costs of their activities” and were based in jurisdictions “which have little or no respect for the rights of others.” Well, at least he didn’t call online sports betting with anyone other than the HKJC a ‘blood crime,’ so, progress?