Hong Kong Horse Bets Hit Record as Races Draw Young Punters

Hong Kong Horse Bets Hit Record as Races Draw Young Punters

Horse racing bets in Hong Kong reached a record HK$93.8 billion ($12.1 billion) in the past season as the race organizers poured wine and hosted concerts to attract younger punters to its events.

Revenue in the 2012/13 season rose 9 percent from a year earlier, surpassing the previous record set in the 1996/97 season, Hong Kong Jockey Club said in a statement on its website. The 83 races drew over two million attendees, according to the statement.The racing year was “one of the best seasons we’ve had, ever,” said Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, chief executive officer at the Jockey Club. The club’s strategy “helped to grow our base of racing fans significantly,” he said.

The Jockey Club added new restaurants, and hosted music and wine-tasting events to its Wednesday night races to attract a young professional crowd to a pastime that began after the British developed the race track at Happy Valley in 1841. The club is the city’s sole provider of horse racing, football betting and lotteries, and contributed HK$11 billion to Hong Kong’s tax revenue.

The club faces increasing competition and higher operating costs, according to the statement. Net profit margin was HK$4.09 billion, short of the HK$4.5 billion achieved in the 1999/2000 season as Internet betting poses a threat to its monopoly in the city.

Hong Kong’s economy expanded 4.1 percent in the first quarter from a year ago. Visitors to the city rose 16 percent to 48.6 million visitors last year, helping boost retail sales to a record HK$47 billion for December.

To attract the growing ranks of Chinese high rollers, the Jockey Club runs a clubhouse in Beijing, two kilometers from the Forbidden City.

To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Lee in Hong Kong at slee936@bloomberg.net

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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