BUSINESS

Hong Kong Jockey Club faces HKD 1.2b hit from new typhoon

TAGs: bangalore turf club, hong kong jockey club, horseracing, India

hong-kong-jockey-club-record-yearThe Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) turned in another record performance in its most recent fiscal year but it could take a serious weather-related hit this weekend.

Thursday saw the HKJC hold its annual general meeting, at which it revealed that its total racing, sports betting and lottery turnover in the 12 months ending June 30 was up 6.8% year-on-year to HKD 216.5b (US $27.7b), while contributions to the government through duties, taxes and charitable donations rose nearly 17% to a record HKD 30.5b.

The club’s mainstay racing operations reported turnover rising nearly 8% to HKD 115.8b, while its sports lottery turnover gained 6.8% to HKD 92.7b. The Mark Six lottery was the lone decliner, reporting sales falling 6.2% to HKD 8b.

Despite the HKJC’s much-heralded commingling deals with international racing partners, their contributions to the total pie remain modest. While commingling turnover enjoyed 77% year-on-year growth, international wagers amounted to HKD 6.1b, just 5% of the total, while commingling revenue rose 43% to HKD 361m, 7% of the total.

The current fiscal year’s results could take a hit if the HKJC’s Sha Tin racetrack is forced to cancel its Sunday meeting, the first of the new season. A tropical storm brewing off the coast of the Philippines is expected to develop into a typhoon by the time it hits Hong Kong sometime Sunday afternoon. This would be the third major storm to hit Hong Kong in the past two weeks.

It’s been four years since a typhoon forced the HKJC to scrap a meeting, but unlike in previous years, the HKJC’s meeting schedule is now so jam-packed that rescheduling a meeting is unlikely. Should Sunday’s event be scrapped, the HKJC could forego as much as HKD 1.2b in revenue.

BANGALORE TURF CLUB FORCED TO SUSPEND BETTING
Over in India, the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) is furiously negotiating with state government officials in a bid to renew its racing permit, which expired on August 31 after the state opted not to re-up. The expiry forced the suspension of off-track betting on Friday’s meeting.

The state opted not to renew pending the results of a Criminal Investigative Division probe into a variety of allegations, including mismanagement of BTC finances, horse doping and the BTC’s reluctance to expand the fixed cap on its membership.

BTC chairman Jagganath Yathiraj told The Hindu that track representatives had held talks with the state’s Chief Minister on Thursday, and while these talks failed to resolve the issue, Yathiraj said further talks were planned and he remained “very hopeful that a positive outcome will emerge in a couple of days.”

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