Macau Government Ends MJC’s Longstanding Concession After 24 Years

The Macau Jockey Club (MJC) is set to have its 24-year concession revoked by the Macau government as of 1 April 2024. This decision comes after the institution reported an accumulated loss of $260 million over the initial five-year period of the concession. The MJC has handed over all necessary powers to the governmental authorities of the Special Administrative Region of Macau to facilitate the termination.

The original agreement between the MJC and the SAR government was for a period of 24 years and six months, with the MJC agreeing to provide approximately $186 million to the SAR after the initial five years. However, due to operational difficulties, the MJC will not be able to fulfill this financial obligation.

The Secretary for Administration and Justice, Cheong Weng Chon, stated that the MJC proposed the termination of the horse racing contract in 2023 due to operational difficulties and an inability to meet the needs of society. The government conducted a study and accepted the Jockey Club’s opinion regarding the termination of the contract. Average race day attendance had been steadily declining, from 701 in 2021 to 492 in 2023, leading to an annual attendance drop from 38,000 in 2020 to 29,000 in 2023.

This decline in attendance had a direct impact on the MJC’s betting operations, resulting in an increased loss of $260 million for the financial year ending on 30 June 2023. Despite the termination, the MJC has agreed to transfer all 289 horses to mainland China by the stipulated 31 March 2025 deadline.

Furthermore, the MJC will hand over its property to the government without compensation and will ensure that the rights and interests of its 254 local employees are handled in accordance with the law. The DICJ director, Adriano Marques Ho, confirmed that the MJC has fulfilled its payment and contribution obligations under the concession, despite the impending termination on 1 April 2024.

Overall, it seems that the decline in attendance and subsequent loss of revenue has led to the termination of the concession granted to the Macau Jockey Club, with the government stepping in to take over the venue and facilities.