Recently, reports surfaced that the fate of horse racing in Macau could be in jeopardy as signs indicate that the “Macau Jockey Club (MJC) will soon lose its right to run racing in the SAR.” However, nothing is certain yet.

Signs don’t promise anything good:

There are some signs that fate won’t bring any good to horse racing in Macau. Relatedly, as the Asian Racing Report states: “The number of horses in Macau has now fallen to around 220 from a high of 1,200 two decades ago, while the number of races per year has also dropped from 1,200 back in 2003 – more than Hong Kong held at that time – to just a single meet with a handful of races each week. There are genuine concerns among officials that Saturday’s season finale could be venue’s last, with sources telling the outlet they believe MJC chairman Angela Leong has been asked to “show cause” to the government for failure to satisfactorily upgrade facilities as was promised when MJC was granted a 24-year concession extension in February 2018.”

Also, IAG contacted MJC workers regarding this particular situation and they said that “the organization has not increased its staff count post-pandemic and has stopped the recruitment process completely for new staff.” However, the MJC did some refurbishments to the club which involved remodeling the horse barn and swimming pool, finalizing upgrades to the 1st floor of the primary racing building, enhancing the racetrack and renewing the computer systems. But that doesn’t seem to be enough, as one of the trainers told Asian Racing Report: “We still haven’t heard when the first meeting of next season will be and we would normally know by now. We are hearing that staff cuts could be coming soon. We do not know what is happening. Is the club cutting costs in an effort to keep going? Or is it a sign that the end is near? Even the officials don’t seem to know. We just want clarity.”

Additionally, one more sign is that reportedly “a shipment of 30 horses bound for Macau from Australia was sent away from a Sydney quarantine facility in July on orders of Macau authorities.”

A new concern has arisen regarding the loss of income:

The fresh concerns arose after MJC revealed it had “accumulated losses of MOP$2.1 billion (US$260 million) during 2022,” which have increased by nearly MOP$200 million (US$25 million) during the past 12 months. On that note, MJC commented: “We have recorded a decline in horse racing revenue last year to MOP$39 million (US$4.8 million), down from MOP$47 million (US$5.8 million) in 2021.”

In 2018, the MJC promised to fund MOP$1.5 billion (US$186 million) in facility improvements, involving restaurants and hotels, in exchange for a 24-years prolongation to August 31, 2042, which is a huge jump from previous prolongation of 6 months approved in August 2017 and a 2-year prolongation approved during September 2015. The long-running concession was expected to help the MJC to fix its struggling financial position as Macau Horse Racing Co, a concession holder, had posted a loss each year since 2005 reached accumulated losses of MOP$4.1 billion (US$507 million) in 2016. On a related note, MJC management commented: “We want to make the MJC a must-visit tourism and entertainment landmark for both tourists and local residents.”

Nevertheless, if it turns out to be true that the MJC has no future in Macau, the gambling center will become like Singapore which brought the industry to a standstill following the event where the Ministry of National Development and the Ministry of Finance said that “the Singapore Turf Club would host its final race meeting in October 2024,” listing that there is a need to use those 120 hectares, where the Singapore Turf Club was, for something better to serve the needs of the country in the future.