The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) will be grateful for the resumption of soccer in Europe, after suffering more than HK $2 billion ($258 million) in losses across the enforced break. Hong Kong punters have only had access to the horse racing market over the last two months. Fixed-odds soccer betting has become a rewarding market for the HKJC over the last decade. The club is hoping to recoup the losses with the resumption of leagues in Spain, Italy and England.
Over the 2018-2019 season, the HKJC recorded HK $15.3 billion ($1.97 billion) in revenue from betting on soccer leagues in Europe, with the projections expected to slump across the 2019-2020 season. The break in play has emphasised the significance of soccer betting in the Hong Kong market.
HKJC Chief Executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges highlighted the revenue loss.
“You can see now with the Korean league back and the Bundesliga going again, some of it is coming back but it is not even 30 per cent. With no football product, the impact has been significant, it is around HK$1 billion per month.”
In recent years, soccer betting has operated at a significantly lower cost than horse racing, with the revenue from soccer betting almost matching horse racing. Engelbrecht-Bresges was quick to stress that horse racing remains the core long term business of the HKJC.
“The core of what we do revolves around horse racing, even if our cost structure and taxes are much higher. Even if you look at football customers, 75 per cent of football turnover comes from original racing customers. The core, the heart of the Jockey Club is horse racing and the charities.”
The major soccer markets across Europe have finalised a restart to the 2020 season, with La Liga commencing on June 11 and the English Premier League following on June 17.