Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Sunday, Feb 05, 2023

Lunar New Year races mean biggest turnover for Hong Kong Jockey Club since 1997

Lunar New Year races mean biggest turnover for Hong Kong Jockey Club since 1997

Amount falls short of the HK$2.54 billion recorded in June 1997, but Hong Kong Jockey Club chief ‘delighted’ by result.

The Year of the Rabbit got off to a racing start for the Hong Kong Jockey Club as its Lunar New Year meeting pulled in HK$2.06 billion (US$255 million) in bets – the biggest daily take since the city’s return to Chinese rule in 1997.

Punters wagered across the 11 races at Sha Tin on Tuesday and, although the take was beaten by a distance by the record HK$2.54 billion gambled in June 1997 it was a healthy 10.1 per cent increase on last year’s event.

Almost 80,000 people clicked through the Sha Tin turnstiles and the official crowd stood at 84,394 – 79,354 at Sha Tin and 5,040 watching from Happy Valley – the biggest turnout since the 2019 Lunar New Year races.

Punters place their bets at Sha Tin racecourse.

“We are absolutely delighted with today’s race meeting. The atmosphere was really fantastic and it brought back what we always felt – that Lunar New Year is a very special race meeting,” Jockey Club chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said.

“If you look at the business results with the highest turnover since the handover, it’s an amazing achievement.”

The Lunar New Year card drew a bigger crowd than the prestigious Longines Hong Kong International Races last month, with fans shoulder to shoulder in front of a packed grandstand after they flocked to see a pre-races performance by Cantopop star Joey Yung Cho-yee.

The crowds were a stark contrast to the 2022 Lunar New Year meeting, which was held behind closed doors.

Engelbrecht-Bresges said city gambling turnover was up 9.4 per cent on last year, “a really positive trend” that had not been seen for some time, with the rest of the increase down to overseas gamblers using the same tote pools.

“We could not have dreamed of such a result, so we are extremely satisfied,” he said.

It was the first Lunar New Year meeting since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020 that the public was allowed unrestricted entry to the racecourses.

People did not have to scan vaccine passes before admission under the present rules and could also eat and drink in the venue.

Among the crowd was first-time Lunar New Year racegoer Stephanie Ma, 24, who went with her aunt, uncle and sister to soak up the atmosphere.

Ma, who works in public relations, said the course was very crowded and people were in high spirits as the races returned to near-normal.

“Since it’s the new year, I wanted to try my luck and to get a sense of what Lunar New Year is like at the racecourse,” Ma said.

But she admitted she lacked beginner’s luck as her HK$200 bet did not pay off.

Ma said the reopening of temples and the restart of horse racing gave her hope the city was catching up with other Asian destinations.

“Even though we are a little bit behind, we are finally joining the line of countries opening up. So I think it’s a really good sign and I am just happy that things are slowly returning to normal,” she said.

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
Hong Kong airlines taking bold action after the years of pandemic lockdown and travel restrictions, to make Hong Kong great again
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
Chinese search giant Baidu to launch ChatGPT like AI chatbot.
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
China relaxes 'red lines' on property sector borrowing in policy pivot
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Vietnam removes two deputy PMs amid anti-corruption campaign
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
China’s recovery could add 1% to Australia’s GDP: JPMorgan 
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
China vows to strengthen financial support for enterprises: official
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
2 Billion People To Travel In China's "Great Migration" Over Next 40 Days
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Flight constraints expected to weigh on China travel rebound
Billionaire Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Teslas now over 40% cheaper in China than US
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
China seeks course correction in US ties but will fight ‘all forms of hegemony’, top diplomat Wang Yi says
China will boost spending in 2023
African traders welcome end of China’s Covid travel curbs
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Preparations begin for Spring Festival travel rush