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Record turnover at Happy Valley for Hong Kong racing’s season finale

George Miller

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Record turnover at Happy Valley for Hong Kong racing’s season finale
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Hong Kong’s “season like no other” ended at Happy Valley on Wednesday 15th July with turnover of HK$1.6 billion (£160 million), a record for a fixture at the iconic city-side venue.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club navigated the uncertainty of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic decisively, implementing measures that protected public and employee health, and enabled the sport to continue; and also managed issues related to demonstrations in the city, which caused significant traffic disruptions to customers and staff, and which had a significant impact on attendance.

Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, commented: “While we recognise that the Coronavirus situation is an ongoing battle, and we must remain vigilant, I can say that it has been heartening to see the Hong Kong community pull together and play a crucial part in combatting its effects; the Hong Kong Jockey Club has been quick to reflect and enact those safeguarding measures and policies while continuing to race.

“We are pleased to have been able to complete a full season but of course our prime focus throughout, and a real challenge, was to act responsibly to protect the public health and safety of our staff, customers and the wider community, at every turn, while at the same time balancing that with the desire for our sport to continue.”

 

Turnover and contributions

Hong Kong’s total racing turnover in the 2019/20 season was HK$121.6 billion (£12.2 billion) which was down only 2.6 percent on the previous season and was still the third-highest ever despite COVID-19 placing severe pressure on domestic wagering in Hong Kong.

The turnover on Hong Kong racing by Hong Kong customers understandably declined by 8.3 percent due to the effects of the Club’s 100 OCCBs (off-course betting branches) being closed or operating on reduced opening from early February, and fans unable to attend the racecourse for almost half the season.

Turnover dipped by almost 26 percent in early February but wagering rallied through the later part of the season and climaxed with Happy Valley’s record turnover at the finale fixture. The impacts on OCBBs necessitated a change and resulted in the Club helping customers migrate online.

There were further positives as total commingling turnover increased to a record HK$23.58 billion (£2.36 billion), up 25.3 percent on last season; and Hong Kong racing fans continued to show a growing interest in the sport overseas, as evidenced in the 12.9 percent increase in the Club’s simulcast turnover.

Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges said: “Our overall season’s racing turnover of more than HK$121 billion is pleasing in light of the significant challenges as it only reduced by 2.6 percent. Commingling continues to be a huge growth area for the Club.”

Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges noted the “strategic value of commingling,” in which people from around the world participate and bet on Hong Kong racing, and observed that the figures show the global appeal and growing interest in Hong Kong racing around the world.

“We are pleased with how popular our simulcasts are with Hong Kong customers and we are keen to do more,” he said.

“Furthermore, we are pleased with how much interest our customers have in our simulcast programmes from the leading race meetings around the world. We saw this even more in the second World Pool at Royal Ascot, which proved a huge success – with individual race turnover up by more than 49 percent on 2019 – and we look forward to expanding the World Pool concept next season, with Hong Kong as a vital hub for global wagering.”

The Hong Kong Jockey Club runs racing with a core purpose being the betterment of society as a whole; the Club is the city’s largest tax payer and this racing season alone has paid HK$12.113 billion (£1.21 billion) to the Hong Kong government, while a significant contribution, including special emergency COVID-19 funding support, has been paid in charitable contributions to a wide range of causes.

Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges said: “There was a compelling public interest element to our desire to continue racing through COVID-19, from Chinese New Year to the end of the season, during which time our tax contribution from racing was more than HK$6.2 billion (£620 million). This has enabled us to not only keep donations at last year’s level but also increase it due to our contributions via the COVID-19 Emergency Fund.

“We are incredibly proud that the Club could continue to make such a contribution and, the benefits of completing a full season will be felt by millions of people across Hong Kong over the coming months.”

The CEO praised the resilience of the Hong Kong community and thanked racing fans, owners, Club members, horsemen, the media, and Club staff in particular, for their patience, dedication and efforts in ensuring the 2019/20 racing season was able to continue in safety.

Asia

PAGCOR Considers Allowing Casinos to Operate Online Gambling

Niji Narayan

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PAGCOR Considers Allowing Casinos to Operate Online Gambling
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The Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) has confirmed that it is considering a proposal to allow online gambling in casinos.

The regulator said it has received requests from operators to allow online bets from known patrons in order to reduce the financial impact of pandemic-related restrictions.

PAGCOR said the departments involved are currently conducting studies on the proposals.

The regulator is already evaluating the legalisation of streaming sabong events in authorised arenas.

An industry source said the change was likely to be made soon but only for Philippine clients.

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Asia

The Game Awards Expands Streaming and Broadcast Footprint in India

George Miller

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The Game Awards Expands Streaming and Broadcast Footprint in India
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Today, The Game Awards, the world’s biggest celebration of video game culture, announced a significant expansion of its live distribution plans in India for its the 2020 gala broadcast, airing live on Thursday, December 10.

The Game Awards will air live on television on MTV India, in addition to streaming live and free across OTT platforms including Disney+/Hotstar, Viacom’s VOOT, Reliance’s JioTV, Airtel and MX Player. These distribution points are in addition to continued free availability of the show on platforms such as Facebook, Twitch, Twitter and YouTube, where an exclusive Hindi co-stream of the show will air in partnership with NODWIN Gaming.

These new livestream partners in India join a slate of more than 45 global digital networks that will stream The Game Awards live and free around the world. Additional distribution partners will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We’re thrilled to grow our distribution in India with an incredible group of partners that share our view that gaming is a universal language that challenges, inspires, entertains and ultimately unites cultures,” said Geoff Keighley, creator, The Game Awards.

The Game Awards partnered with NODWIN Gaming to manage the distribution deals in India. Speaking about the partnership, Akshat Rathee, co-founder and Managing Director of NODWIN Gaming said, “The Game Awards have always been the epitome of our industry. A true celebration of our art form. This COVID year, we all know that gaming has done well and NODWIN is proud to bring The Game Awards back to India. With the strong backing of MTV on linear TV and Airtel Xstream, Hotstar, Jio, Voot and MXPlayer, we can positively say that this will be the first time that The Game Awards will reach more than 100 million Indians on their most preferred TV channels and OTT platforms. We look forward to celebrating our love for gaming with everyone across the country”

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Asia

TransAct to Supply Printing Products to Hoiana Suncity

Niji Narayan

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TransAct to Supply Printing Products to Hoiana Suncity
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Hoiana Suncity has chosen two TransAct products, the Epic 950 for ticket-in, ticket-out (TITO) in the casino’s 300 slot machines and the Epic Edge TT printer for cash desk applications.

“We could not be more excited about partnering with Hoiana Suncity to support their gaming floor and entertainment efforts at this new state-of-the-art integrated resort. For over 15 years, our industry-leading Epic printers have offered time-tested reliability, minimizing down time and thus maximizing player time on machines. We look forward to working with yet another fantastic client and are excited for future opportunities to expand our relationship,” Bart C. Shuldman, Chairman and CEO of TransAct Technologies, said.

“Our choice of TransAct’s Epic family of printers for our casino floor and cash desk operations was driven by the combination of their excellent reputation for reliability as well as the newest most advanced features. The Epic 950 and Epic Edge printers deliver proven performance that is enhanced by TransAct’s personalized customer service and support. We look forward to a long and successful partnership with TransAct,” Alex Khoo, General Manager of Casino at Hoiana Suncity Resort, said.

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