Trouble In Paradise? Commentary Suggests Hong Kong Officials Scramble To Boost Handle

by | 05.30.2019 | 6:49pm
Fans flocked to Sha Tin Racecourse for LONGINES Hong Kong International Race Day in 2018.

In a commentary for the South China Morning Post, writer Tom Biddington observed Thursday that the Hong Kong Jockey Club has added a race to Sunday's card at Sha Tin and questioned whether the move had anything to do with falling wagering figures.

Originally, there had been two sections listed in the program for a turf race, but entries allowed the race to be split up into three instead, which is apparently an unusual move for the sport's regulatory body there.

Biddington points out that year to year turnover was up HK$379 million in February, but March and April were down. May was down HK$543 million. While the season overall is still steady, the month to month trend suggests to Biddington the Club could be concerned.

The number of races in Hong Kong is also up slightly, the writer points out — from 694 at this point in the season to 702 this year. Last year's schedule had 88 race dates on tap, while this year will have 89.

“To keep overall turnover growing, the last card up its sleeve is to increase simulcast racing,” Biddington writes. “There was a meeting last week with an international racing body about just that and there is plenty of more work going on behind the scenes. You can bet your bottom dollar there will be more in the next year or two – potentially even in the off season, a traditional no-go zone.

“But back to Sunday. An extra race might not seem like much at the moment, but it does highlight a mindset that is focused on the now and not the future.”

Read more at the South China Morning Post

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