The Hong Kong Jockey Club recorded the highest opening day turnover in its history on Sunday with total betting reaching HK$1.38 billion – 6.8% higher than the previous record set in the 2017/2018 season.
Locals betting reached HK$1.13 billion – up 4.6% on the previous best – while commingling grew by 18% to HK$247 million.
Ironically, the new record came on the same day as The HKJC also registered the lowest number of attendees to a race meeting in its history with just 362 people granted permission to enter the Sha Tin track due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Despite the low attendance, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of The HKJC, said he was relieved to get the new season underway given the challenges of recent months.
“We had probably the best start we could hope for into the new season, amazing results,” he said. “We were able to increase turnover despite the fact that we had to close our Off-Course Betting Branches for race day.
“Commingling was HK$247 million, an increase of 18%, so from this aspect turnover wise, we are more than delighted. I can only say for all of our team members, to get this season on the road was a lot of hard work, a lot of planning and a lot of things behind the scenes.”
The strong start comes after The HKJC last week reported an 11.6% decline in turnover to HK$218.8 billion (US$28.2 billion) for the year ended 30 June 2020, impacted by significant falls in football betting and the Mark Six lottery.
By contrast, racing turnover fell just 3.2% to HK$121 billion (US$15.6 billion).