- Horse racing activities in Macau will officially end on April 1
- Decision comes after government approved the contract termination request from Macau Horse Race Co Ltd.
- Horse racing site will not be turned into a casino gaming site
The Macau government has announced that it accepted Macau Horse Race Co Ltd’s application to have its horse racing contract terminated.
The company holds a monopoly over horse racing in the city and its decision to cease operations means horse racing activities will no longer be available in Macau.
The operator will shut its doors effective April 1, 2024.
Macau Horse Racing Operator Suffered Billions in Losses
Macau’s horse racing industry has been struggling for years, leading to accumulated losses of over MOP 2.5 billion (US$310.3 million) for Macau Horse Race Co Ltd, company representatives Connie Kong and Rui Cunha unveiled in a January 15 press conference.
Horse racing only generated MOP32.0 million in gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the first nine months of 2023, accounting for only 0.025% of Macau’s total GGR (MOP129.43 billion) in the same period. That compares to the nearly MOP128.95 billion brought in by casinos and hence the decision to terminate horse racing will not have any major impact on overall gross gaming revenues.
Macau’s Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong Weng Chon revealed that the company in 2023 submitted an application for the termination of its public concession. Mr. Cheong said that the government understood the company’s decision, acknowledging that horse racing is no longer as popular in Macau as before.
Horse Racing Site Will Not Be Used For Casinos
Macau Horse Race Co Ltd. has been conducting horse racing activities in the city via the Macau Jockey Club. In February 2018, the firm had its concession extended for 24 years and six months under the condition that it must invest MOP1.5 billion (US$186 million) in enhancing its existing facilities at the venue and adding more non-gaming features.
As part of that commitment, the company announced plans to build new facilities including an equestrian school, a theme park, and a tennis court, as well as additional hotels. The firm failed to fulfill that promise, though it did make some improvements to its existing facilities.
As to the future of the current horse racing site, Mr. Cheong said the land plot and existing facilities will revert to the government free of charge. He discounted the possibility of it being used for casino gaming. The government has no plans to open a new public tender for horse racing in the city.