Macau Horse Racing Co. Ltd has not turned a profit at the Macau Jockey Club in a decade. Losses for 2015 have been reported in the Official Gazette as being just under MOP88.4 million (US$11 million) an increase of some 72.3 percent over losses for 2015. Local reports indicate that over the last ten years the concession has taken a MOP3.96 billion hit (nearly US$495m).
Gross gaming revenues from horse racing alone were down more than 50 percent over last year according to the official data, with bet volumes falling nearly 50 percent.
Angela Leong On Kei, vice chair and executive director of Macau Horse Racing made the case last year that horse racing holds a place of historical importance in the former Portuguese colony which returned to Chinese rule as a Special Administrative Region in 1999. The company, ultimately controlled by Stanley Ho Hung Sun, has held an exclusive concession on the animal sport since 1978, but was known as the Macau Trotting Club until 1989. According to the MJC website, the Macau Jockey Club was acquired by a consortium led by Dr Stanley Ho in 1991.
The company’s contract expired last year amid various complaints from riders, owners, and trainers but was renewed for two years. The concession is set to expire August 31, 2017.
Angela Leong On Kei, the “fourth wife” of Stanley Ho, is also a Legislator and executive director of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd. which holds 20 of the more than 30 licenses and sub-licenses among Macau’s six concessionaires. The company’s interests include everything from small slots clubs, horse and dog racing, the only legal sports book in China (Macau Slot) to illustrious endeavors such as the Lisboa Casino Hotel and the Grand Lisboa Palace set to open in late 2017.
The Macau Slot sports betting monopoly (on all but horse racing) was set to expire on June 5 but was reinstated until at least June 5, 2021. The Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome dog racing license expired at the end of last year but was given a 12 month extension. That license renewal is currently under discussion and analysis with the SAR gaming regulator while they consider the results of a study requested by the University of Macau “on the importance and influence of the Canidrome on the territory as a World Centre for Tourism and Leisure”.
According to the MJC website, the Macau Jockey Club is one of the largest private employers of Macau with around 800 employees (of which about 400 are stable hands) and over 300 part-timers.