Betting and attendance rose 5.8% and 2.6%, respectively, during the 2014-15 racing season in Hong Kong, according to figures released by the Hong Kong Jockey Club following the July 12 final race card for the season.
Wagering reached a record HK$107.9 billion (about US$13.8 billion), the third consecutive year that a new-wagering mark has been achieved and the second time that the figure has topped the HK$100 billion mark, according to the HKJC.
Overall attendance across the season's 83 race meetings at Hong Kong's Sha Tin and Happy Valley racecourses reached 2.071 million, the highest for 12 years and a 2.6% increase on 2013-14
HKJC chief executive officer Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges stressed the necessity of continuing to improve upon the organization's accomplishments, which included expansion of commingled pools and the success by Hong Kong horses in other countries.
"It is not for us to rest on our laurels," he said. "Our goal is to further improve, even though the economic circumstances for next season, we think, are a little bit more challenging. But we always have an optimistic outlook for the future.
"The record turnover this year is the result of a lot of hard work. Since the 2005-2006 season, turnover has increased 79.7%, which is testament to the successful strategies the club has undertaken in that time to revitalize Hong Kong horseracing," Engelbrecht-Bresges continued. "The season's record turnover has in turn provided a record tax contribution from racing of HK$12.3 billion, which means that horseracing has again been able to make a significant positive contribution to the Hong Kong community. Commingling has been a major strategic initiative. We now have 11 commingling partners and if you look at today the commingling turnover was HK$50 million, which shows that we are growing and we will hopefully see a further increase going forward.
"It is rewarding to see us exceed the two million total attendance figure for the third consecutive season. This is a result of the right strategy, the right investment in facilities and technology; I think it has to do with people—we have a fantastic team who are able to understand what our customers want and provide those services."
Former New York Racing Association executive Bill Nader, who has been the HKJC's executive director since 2007, previously announced he would be leaving his position to return to the United States at the end of his current contract and stay with the organization through January 2016 to help with the transition.