Monday saw an announcement by the Macau Jockey Club that it has signed an agreement with the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) Government, which has officially terminated the concession contract that permitted the company to host and operate horse racing events in Macau. April 1st, 2024, is designated as the official date that will mark the Macau Jockey Club’s official closure.
The concession contract was originally extended on March 1st, 2018, and was supposed to be valid until August 31st, 2042. However, in 2023, the Macau Jockey Club submitted a request for its premature termination.
As the decision will result in a significant number of individuals losing their job positions, the Macau Horse Racing Company will be in charge of ensuring that none of the former employees’ labor rights are breached. The company will also help in terms of job referrals and, in general, provide sufficient support as per Macau’s laws. In addition, the company will transport its horses to appropriate locations, and the deadline for this to be achieved is March 31st, 2025. Although the existing racecourse facilities will be transferred to the government on April 1st, the club will be permitted to use them throughout the transportation period.
The Macau Jockey Club Was Not Doing Well Financially
Significant financial difficulties are at the core of Macau Horse Racing Company Limited’s decision and the MSAR Government’s choice to green-light the termination application. In the Monday announcement, it was revealed that losses of MOP2.5 billion (approximately $310.29 million) hindered the company’s ability to operate smoothly. Moreover, according to the MSAR Government, a setback in interest in horse racing within Macau was cited as another issue. A focus was also put on the COVID-19 pandemic and how it, too, contributed to Macau Horse Racing Company Limited’s monetary struggles.
The club has been plagued by issues throughout its history, which spans four decades. As described in the club’s announcement, the Macau Jockey Club was first founded via an agreement between the Portuguese Government and its shareholders. In 1989, however, The Taiwanese consortium implemented flat horse racing. Macau’s jockey club struggled as a result and only stabilized in 1991 by going through a restructuring effort.
What is more, this is not the only jockey club in Asia that will see its last race be held this year: October 5th will be the day when Singapore’s own official horse racing scene will come to an end. Similar to the situation for Macau’s jockey club, lack of interest in the sport is among the main problems that contributed toward the difficult decision to end operations, and the COVID-19 pandemic was another issue that both clubs had in common. Starting March 2027, Singapore Turf Club will completely cease operations, and its facilities will be handed over to the government.