The Hong Kong Jockey Club announced today (30 August) results for the 2017/18 financial year ended 30 June 2018. It was another year of robust growth for the Club, which enabled it to continue its strong support for the community. Overall turnover was HK$234.0 billion, up 8.1%. The Club made a record return to the Government of HK$22.6 billion in duty and profits tax and contributed HK$1.2 billion to the Lotteries Fund. Approved regular charity donations achieved a new record of HK$4.2 billion.
Outgoing Club Chairman Dr Simon S O Ip explained that these remarkable achievements speak not only to the Club’s capabilities, but to the success of its integrated business model, which has brought world-class racing to Hong Kong.
“All of this is made possible by the Club’s integrated business model, underpinned by its core values of world-class leadership, uncompromising integrity, continuous development and serving the community. It is this, together with the success of the Club’s business strategies, which has enabled the Club not just to sustain, but substantially increase its support for the community.” Dr Ip said.
Dr Ip said last year was momentous for the Club with two major strategic projects coming to fruition, “The opening of Tai Kwun – Centre for Heritage and Arts underlined the unique contribution the Club makes to the community, while the completion of the new Conghua Racecourse has laid the foundation for a new era of Hong Kong racing.”
Strong growth in commingling contributed to record racing turnover
The Club's return to the community reflects the quality of its world-class racing and the strong performance of its responsible sports wagering and lottery services. Both racing and football turnover for the financial year set new records at HK$122.8 billion (up by 6.0%) and HK$103.1 billion (up by 11.2%), respectively. The football performance was in part due to the World Cup, whose early stages fell within the financial year. Mark Six lottery saw turnover up by 1.2% to HK$8.1 billion.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Conghua Racecourse, which opened on 28 August, is the beginning of a new era for Hong Kong racing. It is the Club’s largest strategic investment in racing since the construction of Sha Tin Racecourse 40 years ago, providing state-of-the-art training, stabling, veterinary and rehabilitation facilities, as well as training facilities unavailable in Hong Kong. These include an uphill gallop and large spelling paddocks. It will also facilitate the renovation of stabling and training facilities at Sha Tin. Moreover, Conghua Racecourse has great potential to support the development of the equine industry in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Meanwhile, much of the growth across the 2017/18 racing season was due to the Club’s strategic positioning as a global commingling hub. The total amount wagered with commingling partners in the 2017/18 season reached HK$16.6 billion; an increase of 154.8% on the previous season, representing 13.3% of total racing turnover for the 2017/18 season.
Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said, “What attracts overseas fans is the competiveness of Hong Kong racing, the depth and liquidity of wagering pools, the quality and availability of information, as well as the Club’s reputation for the highest standards of integrity.”
The Club now has a total of 38 commingling partners in 10 regions, and is emerging as the preferred partner and global hub for commingling. It will host the Ascot World Pool next year, with bets from two UK partners being commingled into the Club’s pools for the five days of Royal Ascot. This is the first time the Club will provide commingling on an overseas race meeting.
Supporting the further development of Hong Kong’s world-class racing
The quality of Hong Kong races and horses was also recognised in the 2017 international rankings, with nine of the Club's international Group 1 races featuring in the World's Top 100 Group 1 Races and 22 Hong Kong-trained horses (6.5% of the total) in the World's Best Racehorse rankings. All of this was achieved despite Hong Kong having just 0.6% of the world's races and 0.7% of the world's horses in training. The Club also had a record 12 international Group 1 races in the 2017/18 season, with Hong Kong horses winning all but one.
A key component of the Club’s strategy to bring world-class racing to Hong Kong has been to offer competitive and attractive prize money, which has incentivised Hong Kong Owners to invest in quality horses and attracted top overseas runners to race here. Prize money will be increased by around 5% in the 2018/19 season to HK$1.2 billion. This includes an increase of about 10% to HK$93.0 million for the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races, with Sha Tin being home to the world’s richest Group 1 races on turf at 2000m, 1600m and 1200m.
Another key component of the Club’s success is customer centricity, with a strong focus on developing the social, sporting and entertainment aspects of racing. The Club’s ongoing HK$6.9 billion racecourse revitalisation programme saw six new or refurbished venues opening in 2017/18. Racecourse attendance again exceeded two million visits this year, including over 200,000 tourist visits.
For the betterment of our society
With additional resources available as a result of the Club's improved business performance, the Club is now deepening its engagement with the community. In 2017/18 the Club’s Charities Trust approved a total of HK$4.2 billion in donations to 222 projects across ten areas of community need, with a focus on four strategic areas: youth; the elderly; sports; and arts, culture and heritage.
Tai Kwun - Centre for Heritage and Arts, which opened in May this year, is the largest heritage conservation and revitalisation project ever undertaken in Hong Kong, aiming to restore all 16 heritage buildings at the site. In addition, two new buildings, JC Contemporary and JC Cube, an art space and auditorium, respectively, were built.
Meanwhile, the Club maintains its long-standing support for a full range of community needs. For example, one of the Trust’s largest approved donations this year was HK$500 million to City University of Hong Kong for the establishment of the Jockey Club One Health Tower as an educational and research base for veterinary and life sciences.
This year the Club also celebrated the 20th anniversary of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Scholarships. Since their establishment in 1998, they have supported some 500 students, providing them not only with financial assistance but also helping to develop them as compassionate leaders of society.
Discussing the Club’s community contribution, Dr Ip reflected on the Club’s support for equestrian sports and in particular the HKJC Equestrian Team, which the Club established ten years ago to develop the potential of Hong Kong’s most talented riders. Members of the team have won medals for Hong Kong in both national and international competitions, including at this year’s Asian Games where Jacqueline Siu won gold in individual dressage. Hong Kong’s first gold medal of the games, it was also Hong Kong’s first-ever individual equestrian medal at the Asian Games.
Striding on for a better future
Looking back over the past year, Dr Ip said that the opening of Tai Kwun demonstrated the strength of the Club’s commitment to Hong Kong. He also noted that the Club was fast developing its global brand profile in racing and wagering, despite having a small horse population and no breeding industry. “Conghua Racecourse will enable us to take Hong Kong racing to an even higher level of excellence,” he said.
On Membership, Dr Ip said this has also been a memorable year. Happy Valley Clubhouse and Beijing Clubhouse marked their 25th and 10th anniversaries, respectively, during the year. Construction of the new extension of Happy Valley Clubhouse is making good progress and is scheduled to open in 2020.
Stepping down as Club Chairman and Steward, Dr Ip expressed his affection for the Club, which is admired by the racing world and respected by the community.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club's 2017/18 Annual Report can be downloaded from the HKJC website at http://corporate.hkjc.com/corporate/english/history-and-reports/annual-17-18.aspx
The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Founded in 1884, The Hong Kong Jockey Club is a world-class racing club that acts continuously for the betterment of our society. The Club has a unique integrated business model, comprising racing and racecourse entertainment, a membership club, responsible sports wagering and lottery, and charities and community contribution. Through this model, the Club generates economic and social value for the community and supports the Government in combatting illegal gambling. In 2017/18, the Club made a record return to the Government of HK$22.6 billion in duty and profits tax and contributed HK$1.2 billion to the Lotteries Fund. Approved charity donations were HK$4.2 billion. The Club is Hong Kong's largest single taxpayer and one of the city’s major employers. Its Charities Trust is also one of the world's top ten charity donors. The Club is always "riding high together for a better future" with the people of Hong Kong.
Attachment: Results summary of The Hong Kong Jockey Club 2017/18