Record Racing Handle at Hong Kong Jockey Club

Racing handle surpassed $12.17 billion (U.S. dollars) in fiscal year 2012-13.

At its annual meeting Sept. 3, the Hong Kong Jockey Club released its annual report noting a 12.3% increase in pari-mutuel racing handle to a record HK$94.37 billion ($12.17 billion U.S.).

The annual report for fiscal year 2012-13 (which ended June 30) noted that more than two million people attended races in Hong Kong during the fiscal year, including a turnout of nearly 119,000 for the Chinese New Year race day. The attendance was the highest reported since 2003-04.

At the HKJC annual meeting, voting members re-elected Philip Chen, Stephen Ip Shu Kwan, and Rita Fan Hsu Lai Tai to the board of stewards and formally elected C K Liao, JP. All four stewards will serve terms of three years until 2016.

Following the meeting, the new board of stewards re-elected T. Brian Stevenson as chairman and Simon S O Ip deputy chairman for 2013-14.

Stevenson said the HKJC's total direct return to the community had reached a record HK$20.74 billion ($2.67 billion), adding together the club's betting duty and tax payments, its charitable donations, and its contributions to the Lotteries Fund. He noted the contribution was before taking into account the many other benefits the club created for Hong Kong through employment, tourism, and related spending.

"These splendid results have been achieved despite a year of considerable challenge for Hong Kong on different fronts, not to mention competitive pressures on the club at both the local and international level," Stevenson said. "To my mind, this underlines the club's role as a constant and stabilizing force in society, providing Hong Kong people with their favorite form of weekly entertainment while being a major contributor to the community through its not-for-profit business model."

It was an especially successful year for the club's core horse racing operations, which saw wagering surpass the previous record year of 1996-97, while football betting recorded another high-scoring performance in its 10th year of operation. In total, the club's net margin on racing, football betting, and the Mark Six lottery, after payments of dividends to customers and betting duties to the government, was HK$8.78 billion ($1.13 billion), up 8.3% from the previous fiscal year.