Hong Kong Jockey Club brings in record HK$94.4 billion
The Jockey Club had another good year, with racing turnover jumping 12.3 per cent to a record HK$94.4 billion thanks to a revival in racecourse attendance.
In the financial year from July 2012 to June 2013, horse racing was still the main source of revenue, although soccer betting continued to grow in popularity.
The record horse-racing turnover surpassed that of the previous peak year, 1996-97. The club paid HK$11.1 billion in betting duty to the government, up 12.1 per cent year on year and the most since 1999-2000.
Attendances at the two racecourses exceeded two million and was the highest in a decade. Nearly 119,000 turned out for the Lunar New Year race day, and the Happy Valley racecourse was full for the season finale for the first time in recent years.
"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 local and international level," chairman Brian Stevenson said.
Increased competition and costs put pressure on the club's net margin on racing, which was HK$4.12 billion, short of the 1999-2000 record of HK$4.5 billion. Revenue from horse-racing also grew more slowly than the 14 per cent growth recorded in the financial years from 2009 to 2011.
Revenue from soccer betting continued to rise in its 10th year of operation, growing by 7 per cent year on year to HK$50.6 billion.
Due to fewer large jackpots, the Mark Six lottery operation fell short of its exceptional growth in 2011-12. Its revenue fell 0.9 per cent to HK$7.63 billion, the first drop in recent years.
Total tax payments by the club, including betting duties and profits tax, rose 9.1 per cent to a record HK$17.64 billion. The sum represented 7.3 per cent of total taxes collected by the Inland Revenue Department in the corresponding period.
Improved general economic conditions helped boost results. Local economic growth regained momentum in the second half of last year, aided by a stabilisation of the European debt crisis and a strong mainland economy.
But the Jockey Club remains cautious in the light of persistent uncertainty in Europe over austerity. The continued expansion of the Macau gambling industry, illegal gambling on the internet and the rising average age of local racing fans are also viewed as threats to the long-term performance of the club.