Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) is a horse racing club, lottery provider and sports betting operator that has been in existence for over a century. It is a non-profit organisation that returns over 80% of its revenue back to society in the form of government duties and charitable donations, and it is Hong Kong’s largest single taxpayer, contributing around 6.5% of the territory’s federal taxes.
In addition to its world-class horse racing and equestrian facilities, HKJC offers regulated football betting and has operated the Mark Six lottery for over 40 years.
Although it has branched out into lotteries and sports betting, horse racing remains Hong Kong Jockey Club’s main area of expertise, and it manages major racecourses at Happy Valley and Sha Tin, which can hold 140,000 spectators between them. The Club has also built world-class sporting facilities in recent years, including the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI), which provides training and academic qualifications for athletes and sports professionals, and the Conghua Training Centre (CTC), a state-of-the-art facility that can accommodate the training and upkeep of up to 650 horses at a time.
Hong Kong Jockey Club offers live betting at its racecourses and in over 100 off-course betting branches located throughout Hong Kong. The Club has also operated the Mark Six lottery since 1975, which bettors can play at racecourses or at any of the off-course branches. Lottery players can also enter online or via telephone. See the Branch Locator page for a full list of Hong Kong Jockey Club locations.
The Charities Trust
Hong Kong Jockey Club stands today as one of the world’s biggest charity donors. It has contributed an average of HK$2.8 billion to charitable causes every year for the last ten years, in a range of sectors such as culture and heritage, elderly services, and sports and recreation. In the 2016/17 financial year, a record HK$7.6 billion was donated, including HK$3.5 billion for the construction of the Hong Kong Palace Museum.
Donations are administered by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, which was founded in 1993, superseding the Hong Kong Jockey Club (Charities) Ltd, the entity originally responsible for managing charitable donations. The Club operates on a not-for-profit basis and allocates 94% of its operating surplus after tax to the Charities Trust.
In recent years the Trust has supported the opening of the Centre for Clinical Innovation and Discovery (CCID) and the Institute of Cancer Care (ICC), Hong Kong’s first cancer-specific research and service centres. It has also supported over 500 students from Hong Kong and the mainland through its Scholarship programme and has spent billions of dollars on engaging with local communities through various sporting and recreational initiatives, such as the JC Youth Football Development Programme, which aims to help develop the physical, mental and social capabilities of young people through football.
Ping Wo Fund
HKJC is Hong Kong’s only authorised horse racing and football betting provider and works closely with the government to alleviate illegal and problem gambling in the region. As an extension to its Responsible Gambling Policy, which stipulates that the Club will not provide credit betting and will strive to prevent underage gambling, HKJC helped the government to set up the Ping Wo Fund in 2003.
Using donations from Hong Kong Jockey Club and with the guidance of the government, the Ping Wo Fund conducts research into the issues associated with problem gambling, finances public education relating to gambling, and funds counselling and support services for problem gamblers and those affected by them. Hong Kong Jockey Club has pledged to commit HK$360 million to the Ping Wo Fund by 2018/19.
A History of HKJC
Hong Kong Jockey Club is one of the oldest institutions in Hong Kong and recently celebrated its 130th anniversary. The Club has evolved considerably in that time and at one point was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth II, subsequently operating under the name ‘The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club’. Find out more about the storied history of the Club below.
- 1846 – The first horse races were run in Hong Kong’s Happy Valley, formerly named Wong Nai Chung Valley after the river that flowed through it.
- 1873 – The first Hong Kong Derby took place at Happy Valley racecourse.
- 1884 – The Hong Kong Jockey Club was formed as an exclusive, members-only institution.
- 1918 – On Derby day on Tuesday 26th February a fire devastated the Happy Valley racecourse after a row of matsheds – multi-storey buildings made of bamboo and palm leaves – collapsed and knocked over cooking ranges within. The remaining stands collapsed shortly after and although the fire blazed for only 20 minutes, around 600 people died. The tragedy led Governor Sir Francis Henry May to ban matsheds and approve the construction of permanent grandstands in their place.
- 1931 – The construction of the first permanent stand at Happy Valley racecourse was finished.
- 1959 – The Hong Kong Jockey Club (Charities) Ltd was formed. It operated as a separate entity to HKJC and was responsible for administering donations to charitable causes. Queen Elizabeth II granted the Club a Royal Charter and it became known as ‘The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club’.
- 1974 – The government authorised the Club to provide a regulated betting service in order to combat the illegal gambling that was rampant throughout Hong Kong. The first off-course betting branches opened that year and illegal gambling began to decline as players flocked to take part in the legitimate games that Hong Kong Jockey Club offered.
- 1975 – The Club worked with the government to create the Mark Six lottery, in order to combat the illegal “chi fa” (or “tsz fa”) lotteries that were played on the streets of Hong Kong. The first Mark Six draw took place on 5th September 1975.
- 1978 – Sha Tin Racecourse opened to the public. It featured one grandstand and had a capacity of 35,000.
- 1982 – The Jubilee Sports Centre, later to be renamed the Hong Kong Sports Institute, was opened under the management of HKJC.
- 1993 – The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust was established, superseding The Hong Kong Jockey Club (Charities) Ltd.
- 1997 – Sovereignty of Hong Kong was handed from Britain to China and the Club’s Royal Charter lapsed. Its official name changed back to Hong Kong Jockey Club.
- 1999 – HKJC became a founding member of the World Lottery Association, which exists to further the interests of state-authorized lotteries around the world. The Association’s membership has grown to include almost all the major national and state lotteries from around the world, including the China Sports and Welfare lotteries.
- 2003 – The government authorised HKJC to introduce football betting to further clamp down on illegal gambling. The Ping Wo fund was established the same year with the assistance of Hong Kong Jockey Club funding.
- 2008 – Equestrian facilities around Hong Kong, including Sha Tin racecourse, were used to host events and training for the Beijing Summer Olympics. The Club was recognised as “Outstanding Contributor Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Equestrian Events” for its services.
- 2016 – The Charities Trust donated HK$3.5 billion to fund the construction of the Hong Kong Palace Museum, built to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
- 2018 – HKJC opened its state-of-the-art Conghua Training Centre in Guangdong, the first mainland facility to be opened by the Club. Chief Executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges also committed an additional HK$1.5 billion to develop the training facilities at Sha Tin racecourse.