An extraordinary 2022/23 Hong Kong horse racing season ended in style on Sunday, 16 July at Sha Tin Racecourse, with the 88th and final meeting of the season setting a new turnover record for both a single race meeting and the season finale meeting of HK$2.065 billion (approx. £202 million) – an increase of 1.3% year-on-year – since the establishment of the HKSAR in 1997.
In total, the season’s 88 meetings saw 835 Hong Kong races and 299 overseas simulcast races and posted turnover of HK$141.1 billion (approx. £13.8 billion), representing a slight 0.5% increase on the 2021/22 season.
The increasing popularity of the simulcast of overseas races and the increasing appreciation of the global nature of racing contributed to a 12.5% growth in simulcast turnover to over HK$11.8 billion (approx. £1.2 billion).
While the majority of simulcast turnover comes from Hong Kong customers, which registered an 11.3% growth to HK$10.5 billion (approx. £1 billion), turnover generated via World Pool from the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s (HKJC) overseas customers and partners grew by 23% to HK$1.3 billion (approx. £127 million).
The turnover of all simulcast races conducted under the World Pool Brand (including both Hong Kong and overseas customers) increased from HK$6.2 billion (approx. £606 million) in the 2021/22 season to HK$7.3 billion (approx. £714 million), representing a 18.5% increase.
The HKJC have continued to increase the number of World Pool races to 24 days this season featuring many of the LONGINES Top 100 Group 1 races, while also broadening World Pool partnerships to include racing from Australia, Saudi Arabia and Germany for the first time.
Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said: “Under such a challenging economic situation, our overall season racing turnover of HK$141.1 billion is very satisfactory. The strength of the turnover reflects the quality of our products and the on-going support of our customers. However, we will stay vigilant as there will be significant challenges from offshore bookmakers following the reopening of borders and also illegal bookmakers.
“To ensure our racing will stay competitive and maintain its world-class status, we will re-invest in racecourse assets and enhance customer experience. We will also grasp the unique development opportunity in the GBA under the ‘One Country Two Systems’ principle. After all, the Club is acting for the betterment of society. All we do is to contribute more to our community with a strategic focus that best meets the needs of Hong Kong people.”
Zac Purton and John Size set new records
The 2022/23 season saw new records set on the track too, with trainer John Size becoming the first trainer to win 12 Hong Kong trainers’ championships. The Australian master trainer has now trained 1493 winners in Hong Kong and continues to excel with an uncanny ability to patiently develop young talent into elite top-level performers.
Zac Purton clinched his sixth Hong Kong jockeys’ championship with a single-season record of 179 wins, breaking Joao Moreira’s previous record of 170.
Home-grown jockey Vincent Ho received the Tony Cruz Award – given to the leading local rider with the most wins in the season – for a fourth time.
With only 1,250 horses in training – or around 0.7 percent of the world’s horse population – Hong Kong’s racing once again displayed its world-class quality in 2022/23.
Golden Sixty, the first horse in the history of Hong Kong racing to have secured three consecutive Horse of the Year crowns, and fellow G1 winners, Lucky Sweynesse and Romantic Warrior, are firmly entrenched in the top seven of the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.
They delivered astounding performances against international rivals in the international spotlight on FWD Champions Day on 30 April 2023 and led a clean sweep of the three Group 1 features of the day – G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m), G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) and G1 FWD QEII Cup (2000m).
Engelbrecht-Bresges, said: “Hong Kong’s world-class racing is not only built on our state-of-art racing facilities, but more importantly a rich and growing pool of racing talents across all levels from trainers, jockeys, veterinarians to stable assistants and farriers. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is committed to attracting world-class talents from overseas and nurturing high-potential home-grown talents. I am delighted to see our racing talents and the horses they train, and take care of, deliver remarkable performances this season to local and global fans. They are the future of Hong Kong’s racing.”
Development of racing in Mainland China
Another important highlight of the 2022/23 season is that Conghua Racecourse (CRC) has demonstrated its critical role in supporting Hong Kong’s racing as well as the development of the equine industry in the Greater Bay Area.
CRC has fully utilised its state-of-the-art facilities to best accommodate, train and prepare horses to return to Sha Tin and Happy Valley racecourse for racing. In the past season, CRC has produced 172 wins by 138 horses.
Engelbrecht-Bresges said: “The importance of CRC will continue to grow further with the significant work we are undertaking with Sha Tin’s stable refurbishment to meet the future needs of trainers. CRC will also serve as the centre stage of international-standard racing in the Mainland, starting from the first race meeting in 2026 with the establishment of an iconic grandstand enabling visitors from all fronts to enjoy and experience Hong Kong’s world-class racing.”
Hong Kong racing will restart for the 2023/24 season on 10 September.
Groove take it to the edge with Arrow’s Edge deal
Rebranded iGaming casino platform provider and aggregator Groove is back in the news with another partnership, this time around with game developer Arrow’s Edge.
Arrow’s Edge is an innovative online game developer with a 10-year track-record, providing a comprehensive range of gripping casino games including counterculture hit Back to the 60s, Formula Fortunes, Wizards Jackpot, Monster Blowout, Ocean Life, Chase the Cheddar, Yakuza Slots, Chef Wars, The Winning Dead, Ibiza, Aruban Nights, Panda Planet, and the American football themed 4th and Goal, amongst a cache of over 60 slots.
In addition to slots, Arrow’s Edge also produces a series of table games and video poker games. Through Groove’s aggregator, GroovePlay, operators can access powerful marketing tools on a local or global level, and implement tournaments available from Arrow’s Edge. These can involve numerous levels of customisation, including varying entry fees, structures, prize pools, and games.
The games in tournament format come loaded with bonus rounds and animations, and on top of it all, there are dazzling leaderboards which help ramp up the excitement.
Another easy-to-access GroovePlay marketing feature revolves around the jackpots including Mini Jackpot, Video Poker Jackpot or Mega Jackpot; each of which delivers added value to both casinos and players.
Following a brand refresh and outings with the new brand at iGB Live and SBC Barcelona, aggregator and platform Groove attended SiGMA Europe in November, showcasing Groove’s popular portfolio of world-class content and sports-betting that now includes Arrow’s Edge.
Groove’s recent rebrand gives the company a new look and a new website has been launched at www.groovetech.com with the game portfolio now featuring over 15,000 games, adding well over 100 new games monthly from a dynamic stable of over 100 leading content partners, which Arrow’s Edge proudly joins.
Groove works with tier-1 operators and beyond to professionalise technology solutions that deliver high performance and sustainable revenue around aggregated content ranging from slots, online casino and live casino, to poker and table games alongside a suite of new crash games, in multiple currencies and languages.
A spokesperson for the Arrow’s Edge team said that one of the key values the company is built on is care and dedication for every relationship and each and every partnership no matter the size. The spokesperson continued by saying that Arrow’s Edge cross-platform games and wide range of the matics is a snug fit with Groove, and concluded; “We are sure players and operators will enjoy the variety of excellent features and innovations, including our tournaments and jackpots.”
Yahale Meltzer, COO and co-founder at Groove, said: “After another year of hard-won commercial success, we feel even more committed to continuing to provide our casino cluster with an outstanding offering that pushes the boundaries to the edge; which is why we have onboarded Arrow’s Edge, who have come along in leaps-and-bounds over the last couple of years. We look forward to kicking things off with a bang by listing Arrow’s Edge in our new data-driven B2B Recommender seen by all our casinos.”
Evolution Launches Crazy Pachinko, Unique Online Slot Game Featuring Crazy Time’s Pachinko Live Bonus Game
Evolution today announced the launch of Crazy Pachinko, a unique online slot game that includes a live pachinko bonus round straight out of Crazy Time, Evolution’s incredibly popular hit live game show.
A vibrant and very different addition to the extensive portfolio of slot titles from Evolution Group’s NetEnt, Red Tiger, Big Time Gaming and Nolimit City slot brands, Crazy Pachinko merges the best of the live and slot worlds.
Crazy Pachinko packs numerous dynamic multipliers into multiple stages of fun. There’s a qualification slot phase, a top-up slot phase and, finally, the incredible Pachinko Bonus game, presented by a live game host and featuring guaranteed rewards.
The Pachinko Bonus game showcases the iconic pachinko wall where the game host drops the puck, just like in Crazy Time. Other highlights sure to attract both slot players and lovers of Evolution’s all-action live game shows are Sticky Scatter symbols for a better chance of qualification, multipliers that accumulate with each game phase and the potential to receive all ‘double’ segments on the pachinko wall.
“We have been working hard on combining the worlds of live casino and slots and we are trying all sorts of different things,” the Chief Product Officer for Evolution, Todd Haushalter, said. “Crazy Pachinko builds on the success of Crazy Coin Flip, which was our first live slot game, and has been wonderfully successful. To make these games we bring our best slot and live casino minds together to offer games that are true to both styles of play. I think the team has done an amazing job with Crazy Pachinko and players will love it.
“If you search for pachinko big wins on YouTube, there are endless videos of players having fun on this Crazy Time bonus game. The love players have for this bonus cannot be underestimated and to break it out and make it the bonus of a slot game is, I think, just what players are waiting for.”
For trade press and media enquiries, please contact Amy Riches, Head of Marketing, ARiches@ Evolution .com.
Zitro’s Double Link Now Live at Casino Bilbao’s New Location
Zitro has introduced its latest innovations from the Glare cabinet line at the recently relocated Casino Bilbao. Among these is Double Link, the newest addition to the company’s lineup of games that have captivated players at the renowned Luckia casino.
Displayed on the exclusive Illusion Glare cabinet, featuring a 43-inch Ultra HD curved screen, Double Link introduces an engaging bonus round that not only doubles the excitement but also enhances potential prizes for players.
Juan Carlos de Pedro, Director of Casinos at Luckia, points out about this new installation: “The diverse range of Zitro’s products allows us to enhance our gaming offerings with the latest innovations in the market such as the highly popular Double Link”.
“We’re thrilled to introduce our latest offering to Casino Bilbao, elevating the entertainment experience for its customers,” the Director of Casinos Spain for Zitro, Jaime Anibal-Alvarez, said. “We believe Luckia’s significant commitment to Zitro products will bring positive outcomes for all.”
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