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Macao Hosts Final Horse Race after 40 Years

Macao's horse racing track held its last races on Saturday, marking the end of the equestrian sport in the jurisdiction.

The development builds upon the recent decision of the government to terminate its contract with the Macao Jockey Club in April after the Macao Horse Race Company requested the closure of the horse racing tracks due to several operational challenges.

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The Macao horse racing track began operating over 40 years ago. However, in recent years, the horse racing industry in Macao has been facing economic difficulties, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to the jockey club reportedly incurring operating losses of over $311 million.

During the final event on Saturday, spectators gathered in the half-full stands to place their last bets, with some tourists also visiting the track. Due to the news of the closure, the track attracted new visitors who wanted to see and experience the venue's atmosphere before it shuttered operations.

As part of the termination agreement, the horse racing company committed to arranging transportation for owners' horses to other locations by March 2025. It will also settle its employees in accordance with the law.

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Different Situation in Hong Kong

While horse racing in Macao experienced significant economic hurdles, the sport continues to be popular and lucrative in the neighboring jurisdiction of Hong Kong. The city's jockey club oversees various gambling activities and serves as a major contributor to many charitable endeavors.

Other gambling verticals in Macao are experiencing different trends in contrast with the region's horse racing realities. In January, Macau's casino industry recorded a substantial 67% increase in gross gaming revenue (GGR) to MOP19.34 billion (US$2.4 billion).

The January figure represented the second-highest total since the COVID-19 pandemic. The GGR was also a 4.1% increase from December 2023's MOP18.57 billion (US$2.3 billion)

In 2023, Macao's casino industry annual accumulated GGR reached MOP183.06 billion (US$22.71 billion, a 333.8% surge year-on-year.

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