Horse racing in China’s gaming hub of Macao to end in April, after over 40 years
HONG KONG (AP) – The Government in China’s gambling hub of Macao said Monday that after more than 40 years, there will be no more horse racing in the city and announced plans to terminate its contract with the city’s jockey club in April.
The gaming hub on China’s south coast near Hong Kong is a home to various gambling businesses, which form a major pillar of its economy. But its jockey club, acquired by a consortium led by late casino tycoon Stanley Ho in 1991, has faced financial woes in recent years.
Cheong Weng Chon, a Macao official, told reporters that the Macao Horse Race Company had asked last year that the contract with the Government be terminated, citing operational difficulties and the “impossibility of aligning horse racing activities with the current developmental needs of society.”
“Considering that these activities have progressively lost their appeal to local residents and tourists in recent years, the Government, after thorough research, decided to accept the application from the Macao Horse Race Company,” he said.
Local media outlets, including public service broadcaster TDM, reported that the Government had no plans for further public tendering for horse racing at the club’s tracks.
Under the termination arrangement that was due to take effect on April 1, the firm pledged to arrange for transportation of its horses to other locations by March 2025 and handle the company’s employees according to the law, the Government said.
In 2018, Macao’s Government had signed on with the company for an extension of the concession until 2042.
But the former Portuguese colony’s horse racing has grappled with financial difficulties in recent years and has not fully recovered after the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, the club’s accumulated losses increased to US$261 million, Macau Business reported last June.