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Macau Jockey Club Comes to an End as Macau Cancels Concession

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The Macau government has announced the termination of the concession contract of the Macau Jockey Club (MJC), effectively bringing an end to horse racing in the city. The decision comes after the MJC, citing operational difficulties and declining popularity, proposed to end the contract in 2023.

The End of an Era

The current concession contract between the MJC and the government, signed in 2018, was due to run for 24 years and six months. However, the MJC had failed to fulfill certain conditions stipulated in the contract, including a requirement for a capital injection of MOP1.5 billion (US$186 million) by the end of last year. Additionally, the MJC had been struggling to attract spectators, with average race day attendance plummeting from 701 in 2021 to 492 in 2023.

The Macau Jockey Club proposed to the government to terminate the horse racing contract in 2023 due to operational difficulties and an inability to meet the needs of society. The government has conducted an in-depth study and accepted the Jockey Club's opinion.

Cheong Weng ChonSecretary for Administration and Justice

In a press conference on Monday, Secretary for Administration and Justice Cheong Weng Chon stated that the government had conducted an in-depth study and accepted the MJC's proposal to terminate the contract. He acknowledged the MJC's efforts to revive the horse racing industry but highlighted the industry's declining appeal and the government's focus on diversifying Macau's economic base.

As part of the termination agreement, the MJC has committed to handling the rights and interests of its 254 local employees in accordance with the law and transferring all horses to mainland China by March 31, 2025.

The employees will receive compensation consistent with Macau's employment laws. The MJC will also hand over the venue and facilities to the government without compensation.

No Plans To Revive Horse Racing

The government has no plans to rekindle horse racing activities in the future, citing the industry's long-term decline and lack of perceived benefits. Additionally, no other gaming activities will be conducted on the original land.

This decision marks a significant shift in Macau's entertainment landscape, signaling the end of an era for horse racing in the city. While the decision has been met with mixed reactions, it reflects the government's strategy of adapting to changing preferences and diversifying Macau's economy beyond gambling.

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