The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) has experienced an upsurge in football betting, with wagering on the sport in the 2020/21 financial year higher than on horse racing for the first time in the operator’s history.
Publishing its annual report for the financial year ending 30 June 2021, the HKJC reported total revenues of HK$280 billion (€30 billion), a 27.9% increase on the 2019/20 figures.
Total football betting turnover increased by 51.4% to reach HK$140 billion (€15 billion). This substantial increase in football turnover can be attributed to the delayed schedules of prominent European leagues such as the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A.
The postponement of matches across Europe as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic led to the 2019/20 seasons extending past 30 June 2020 and into the HKJC’s next financial year.
Additionally, the rescheduled UEFA 2020 European Championship and Copa America 2020, both held in June of this year, also provided a boost to the HKJC’s football revenue, although the state-sanctioned company has acknowledged this as an ‘unusual situation unlikely to recur’.
Noting the increase in popularity of football betting during the financial year and to address ‘unmet customer needs’, the HKJC launched its ‘GoalX’ mobile app to provide information on football matches, live statistics, betting and live game watch along.
Although football betting eclipsed horse racing wagering for the first time, betting turnover on the latter still reached HK$136 billion (€14 billion), a rise of 12.5% on 2019/20 figures.
Furthermore, there was a 13.7% increase on racing betting duty returned to the government throughout the financial year, with the sport making a total contribution of $13.7 billion (€1.5 billion).
“I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the club’s employees for their outstanding contribution during this most challenging year,” said Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive of the Jockey Club.
“My special thanks also to trainers, jockeys, stables and transport staff and everyone else in the racing community, many of whom have made a great personal sacrifice. I also really appreciate the support of racing fans in these difficult times.”
Lastly, turnover from Mark Six lottery sales bounced back from a suspension in the early months of the 2020/21 financial year to reach HK$3.4 billion (€37 million).