acau Horse Racing Co. Ltd, which runs the struggling facility, will continue its monopoly on horse racing betting in the former Portuguese colony that it has held since 1978.
With racing season starting this month, the Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong, signed the new exclusive contract despite the Club failing to turn an annual profit since 2005.
Losses amounted to MOP 51.25m (US$6.42m) last year and several members have accused the collapse in popularity of the facility due to mismanagement.
Chief among the concerns is the dwindling number of top-class races hosted at the Club that is affecting the long-term performance of top-tier horses. But the Club remains one of the largest private employers in Macau and similar to the previous contract, the government will receive MOP 15m (US$1.88m) in annual revenue for the exclusive rights to run horse racing.
The new contract starts from September 1 and continues the previous contract extension that ran for ten years. The government will review the new contract in two years rather than ten as revenues from horse racing continue to decline. Revenue from horse racing betting accounted for less than 0.1pc of Macau’s gross gaming revenue for the first half of 2015.
For the first six months of the year, revenue from horse racing betting decreased 52.6pc year-on-year to MOP 100m (US$12.5m), compared to MOP 190m (US$23.8m) generated in the same period last year. In 2014, revenue from horse racing betting was already down 16.2pc year-on-year to MOP 306m (US$38.3m) from MOP 365m (US$45.7m) in 2013.
As the new season starts, the Club and government will address concerns of disgruntled members to try and get the operation back on track. In addition, the Club has been in talks with horse racing interests in South Korea and Turkey at possible partnerships that would broadcast simulcast races at the venue to help narrow the Company’s losses.