Asia’s only legal dog-racing track ran its last race on Saturday, June 30, 2018, in what was reportedly a low-key finale that saw around 300 people at the Macau Canidrome Club, which has been operated by the Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome Company since 1963, as reported by Inside Asian Gaming.
Located in Nossa Senhora de Fátima, Macau, China, the notorious greyhound racing track will close its doors on July 21, 2018, after in 2016, the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) gave the Canindrome two years to relocate or close completely. Also, if it chose to relocate, it would need to significantly improve its animal welfare standards. Prior to that, in November 2015, the exclusive ten-year renewal contract that was granted to the company in 2005 expired and was given a one-year extension through December 31, 2016. It was to be the second such extension as the Secretary for Economy and Finance, via Executive Order No. 76/2016, amended the concession contract between the Macao Special Administrative Region and the company, extending the license through July 20.
According to Inside Asia Gaming, in January this year the owner of the company, SJM Holdings Co-Chairman and Executive Director, Angela Leong On Kei, confirmed that rather than relocate the facility, it would close down permanently on July 21.
For years the Canidrome’s profits have fallen, with a 2016 study of the track’s performance showing a decline of 13.8 percent year-on-year in gross gaming revenue (GGR) from greyhound racing, going from MOP$145 million in 2015 to MOP$125 million. The study also reportedly acknowledged that “social expectations” regarding the treatment of animals was changing.
According to a February report by The New York Times, Desmond Lam, Professor in International Integrated Resort Management at the University of Macau, said that a growing awareness of animal rights could help to provide some explanation for the track’s declining revenue.
Animal welfare advocates, such as Albano Martins, who runs Macau’s Society for the Protection of Animals (Anima), who have for years communicated concerns regarding the treatment of the racing dogs at the Canidrome, have reportedly applauded the closure. The New York Times reports that an investigation in 2011 by The South China Morning Post in Hong Kong discovered that approximately 30 of the racing dogs were killed at the racetrack’s kennel every month, either due to underperformance or when their racing days are over. Additionally, each year, more than 70 of the dogs are reportedly euthanized due to injury.
The source further reports that Anima has communicated its concern regarding the fate of more than 600 dogs that are currently living in the kennels at the Canidrome. Six-hundred and fifty greyhound adoption forms were sent to Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome Co Ltd last week by Anima looking to help with the rehoming process, communicating that it would like to put its past differences with the facility’s operators behind so that it may assist with the adoption process.
In a Monday release, the Civic and Municipal Bureau (IACM) communicated that it sent the Canidrome owners a written request to submit a proposal for the relocation of its 600 greyhounds by July 10, MNA reports. The letter reportedly reiterated that that company had been informed by the government to vacate in 2016, believing that it had more than enough time to prepare for the adoption of the greyhounds that remained at the facility. According to the report, it was also communicated by the Bureau that it does not support any individual or company that abandons their dogs or any other pet, emphasizing that those who break the law will be prosecuted.