It’s No Problem
The race day shutout, instigated as part of efforts to contain the deadly coronavirus outbreak, follows the indefinite closure of all HKJC’s 101 off-course betting branches.
“It is important that we contain the (virus) risk, but we are still able to offer entertainment for the 600,000 to 700,000 who have betting accounts and watch TV,” Engelbrecht-Bresges told AFP.
He said that turnover for Sunday’s meeting was HK$1.181 billion (US$150 million), down about HK$400 million from last year.
“But this is what we expected. Some people are wondering can we stomach a 25 percent decrease in turnover. It’s absolutely no problem,” he said.
“Maybe our bottom line (for the season) drops a billion dollars. That’s for us, nothing,” added the CEO.
“It is important that here we contain the risk by having only 300 people here, but we are still able to offer entertainment for 600,000 to 700,000 people: they buy their form book they study the day before, they’re glued to the TV.”
Engelbrecht-Bresges said that calling off racing would create more problems than it solved.
“It’s really not a revenue issue. I think if you would suspend racing, jockeys would leave.
“And you have to still take care of those horses. You have 1,300 owners who have horses in training. They still have to pay their bills.”
Trainer John Moore, who saddled Beauty Generation to win the Group One Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Cup on Sunday, said it was vital to carry on.