Macau is set to become the second Asian jurisdiction to lose its horse racing industry in 12 months after the Macau Jockey Club was stripped of its concession right to run racing.

The Secretary for Administration and Justice, André Cheong Weng Chon, announced on Monday that the Macau Jockey Club had reached an agreement with the government to end its concession, which had initially been slated to run until 2042, on April 1 this year.   

It will not only impact the 570 employees of the Macau Jockey Club but also 290 horses, which the government says will be transferred to the Chinese mainland or other countries no later than March 31 next year.

“The Macau government has conducted a comprehensive analysis and determined that horse racing operations have not yielded the intended socio-economic benefits,” said the secretary.

“Following the expiration of the contract, there will be no further public tendering for the operation.”

All existing facilities and land currently possessed by the horse racing operator will be unconditionally returned to the government.

“Horse racing is a waning industry in Macau, as well as in some neighbouring regions.” Cheong said.

“In 2021, there was an average daily visitor count of 701, but that number decreased to only 492 per day last year.”

Cheong also made reference to the situation in Singapore, whose horse racing industry is being wound up by October this year, despite a 180-year history.

Group 1-winning trainer Gary Moore currently trains in Macau alongside his son Nick, while former Australian jockey Geoff Allendorf is also a licensed trainer there.

According to official records, 2023 saw $US17.4 million in bets on racing in Macau.

While it was a recovery on 2022, it was less than half of what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.