HKJC sees betting handle fall 12% year-on-year

The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) saw its betting handle fall 12% year-on-year for the 2019/20 fiscal year, despite racing remaining strong throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Total betting handle for the year between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020 decreased to HK$218.75bn (US$28.22bn), as the pandemic wreaked havoc with the sporting calendar.

However, with the operator maintaining a full-race programme with strict health and safety measures introduced, racing turnover only dipped by 3% to HK$121bn, with just one less race meeting than the previous period.

With 3,273 football matches postponed worldwide as a result of the pandemic, football betting turnover was down 19% to HK$92.6bn.

Its Mark Six Lottery game turnover dropped by 39% down to HK$5.16bn, which was impacted by draws being suspended in February.

However, the HKJC still managed to return HK$25.26bn to the community, 13% down from 2018/19, including HK$19.9bn in duty and profits tax to the government, and HK$346m to help tackle the pandemic.

With its off-course betting branches closed from February to June, the operator used the period to migrate to online, with its digital and mobile platforms accounting for 70% of wagering turnover, up to 90% at the height of the pandemic.

HKJC chairman Philip Chen said: “I believe we have every reason to be proud of the Club. We maintained our core racing, wagering and membership operations. We kept our customers, members, employees and licensed personnel safe and protected.

“In short, we did what was right for the Club and what was best for Hong Kong.”

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