Home Culture Macau Bid Farewell to Horse Racing as Historic Track Holds Final Races

Macau Bid Farewell to Horse Racing as Historic Track Holds Final Races

Macau Bid Farewell to Horse Racing

MACAU — The racecourse in Macau, renowned for its opulent casinos, echoed with a mix of excitement and nostalgia on Saturday as it hosted its last-ever horse races, drawing an end to a sport that had captivated the city for over four decades.

In the half-filled stands, fervent gamblers gathered to place their final bets, while curious tourists flocked to the track, eager to experience the vibrant ambiance one last time. For Mai Wan-zun, a Chinese student studying in Macau, the occasion was a rare opportunity to savor the electrifying atmosphere. “We could come to see horse racing here in Macau, but not in mainland China,” she lamented.

Even long-time residents like Helena Chong, who had never before visited the racecourse, felt compelled to witness the spectacle before its demise. “It’s a pity to see the end of all this gambling and entertainment,” she remarked, reflecting the sentiments of many who viewed the closure as the end of an era.

The government’s decision to terminate its contract with the Macao Jockey Club in April was announced in January, following a request by the Macao Horse Race Company. The company cited operational challenges as a key factor contributing to the closure. In recent years, horse racing in Macau has been grappling with economic difficulties and has struggled to recover from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report by the Macau News Agency, the jockey club had accumulated staggering operating losses surpassing $311 million.

The government clarified that, under the termination arrangement, the horse racing firm had committed to arranging transportation for owners’ horses to alternative locations by March 2025. Additionally, the company pledged to adhere to legal protocols concerning its employees.

In stark contrast to Macau, horse racing continues to thrive in neighboring Hong Kong, where it remains immensely popular and profitable. The Hong Kong Jockey Club oversees a host of gambling activities and stands as a prominent contributor to numerous charitable initiatives within the city.

As the sun set on Macau’s horse racing legacy, spectators bid farewell to an era characterized by thrilling races, high-stakes wagers, and a unique blend of entertainment and opulence. The closure of the historic track marks the end of an illustrious chapter in Macau’s history, leaving behind memories that will endure as a testament to the city’s vibrant sporting culture and enduring fascination with games of chance.