Football boost for Hong Kong Jockey Club

Football boost for Hong Kong Jockey Club

Thursday, September 8, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Euro 16 gives further boost to net margin increase

Football betting is on its way to becoming the dominant sport within Hong Kong Jockey Club’s (HKJC) betting revenues according to the company’s most recent results released at the start of September.

The rise in football’s contribution to HKJC’s net margin comes despite it refusing to accept bets on the Chinese Super league due to ongoing concerns with regard to match-fixing and integrity issues.

Helped by the European Championships, the Asian Cup Under-23 tournament and the Copa America taking place over the period, total contribution from football betting to the HLJC net margin rose to 54.2% from 53.4% in the 2014/15 financial year. Net margin for football over the period rose to HK$5.95bn, a 6.4% rise compared to a 2% rise in racing net margin to HK$4.5bn.

The company added that enhancements to its football offering, including free live streaming and live analytics, was an important factor in the rise in revenue.

In gross gaming revenue (GGR) terms, horseracing remained the largest contributor at HK$107.4bn compared to HK$86.8bn. However, there was a marked differential in growth rates with racing up 1.8% and football powering on with an 11% growth rate. HKJC’s betting revenues are competed by the Mark 6 lottery product which saw sales revenue rise 10% to HK$8.5bn.

A particular boost for racing came from the results from comingling, which began two season ago and now includes 13 overseas racing organisations. Commingling revenues rose 31.5% year-on-year to HK3.4bn and chief executive at HKJC, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, said that what attracted overseas racing bettors to the product was the competitiveness of the racing and the depth of the wagering pools. “It is a very promising area of growth, rich with potential benefit for Hong Kong”, he added.

Engelbrecht-Bresges did warn against complacency when looking at the prospects as a whole. Pointing to the transformation that has taken place in Macau in recent years, he said that the slowing economy and drop in VIP business there meant the casino were now more than ever targeting Hong Kong as a market to tap, even more so with the imminent opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge.

He also said that Hong Kong remained a major target for illegal operators. “Illegal gambling is not a new problem, as the high-profile arrests of criminal gangs during Euro 2016 reminded us,” he said. During a crackdown in June, the Hong Kong police arrested more than 50 people on illegal gambling charges and confiscated around HK$130m.

But Engelbrecht-Bresges said Hong Kong was increasingly threatened by operators working from overseas. “Based in jurisdictions which have little or no respect for the rights of others, these unauthorised operators use the internet and digital technology to target Hong Kong and other law- abiding jurisdictions,” he added.

Totally Gaming says: These are impressive figures, particularly when it comes to football betting. Given the current growth rate – and with the possibility of HKJC opening up to Chinese Super League still open – it’s is not hard to see the time coming up when football overtakes racing in terms of total GGR as well as in margin terms.

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