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Tuesday 9th April 2024

Horse Racing is Leaving Macau: Authorities Announced the Closure of Taipa Racecourse

Taipa Racecourse

A watershed moment has arrived for Macau, Asia's premier gambling center. After more than 40 years of horse racing, the city has made the difficult but key decision to close Taipa Racecourse and put an end to this long-standing tradition. The last races were held on April 8, 2024, marking the end of an entire era.

What were the key factors behind such a drastic decision to abandon equestrian sport in Macau? What does the future hold for the vacated space of Taipa Racecourse?

A watershed moment for Taipa Racecourse

Back in January 2024, the Macau government announced the early termination of the 24-year contract with Macau Jockey Club (MJC). The company, which holds the exclusive rights to run horse racing and betting at speciality betting shops, had accumulated more than $311 million in losses in 2023. The situation has become critical and the parent company MHRC has asked the city authorities to release it from further liabilities.

Reasons for the racetrack's closure

Several key factors led to such an abrupt decision:

  • Decline in interest. After the COVID-19 pandemic, horse racing in Macau began to rapidly lose popularity among locals and tourists alike. Many people follow the races online, so there is no point in coming to the events themselves. The same situation has happened with many casinos in Macau. Besides, as writes, online platforms give newcomers no-deposit free spins and other bonuses. So the motivation to come to offline establishments drops.
  • Failure to fulfill investment obligations. According to the 2018 contract, MJC was supposed to invest heavily in improving infrastructure and expanding entertainment offerings. But this never happened due to accumulated losses.
  • Misalignment of strategic interests. Macau authorities concluded that horse racing is no longer in line with the city's development vector, which has put the main emphasis on the gambling and entertainment industry.

What awaits the racetrack and its employees

Under the terms of the termination, horse owners will be required to move their horses to other locations by March 31, 2025. About 800 permanent and 300 temporary MJC employees will receive severance packages. The land itself, including Taipa Racecourse, will revert to the Macau government, which has not yet decided on its future use. There has been speculation that a stadium for international sporting events could be built on the site.

Macau is saying goodbye to horse racing for good, opting for other, more promising entertainment. The decision is not an easy one, but the city authorities see it as a guarantee of further successful development of the gambling center of Asia.