The Lotteries Fund provides financial support to charitable causes and organisations within the welfare sector in Hong Kong, such as those engaged in elderly services, social support, family welfare, and services for young people. It receives 15% of the revenue from every Mark Six ticket sold.
The Fund is a government-led entity that operates independently of Hong Kong Jockey Club’s own Charities Trust, which receives a share of all the Club’s profits, not just those from the Mark Six lottery.
How Does the Lotteries Fund Work?
The Lotteries Fund was established in 1965 after a resolution was passed by the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, ensuring that a fixed percentage of lottery proceeds would be given back to society. This came ten years before Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) launched its Mark Six game in 1975. The Fund is managed by the Social Welfare Department and is primarily in place to assist welfare services throughout the territory.
The Mark Six lottery is the Fund’s biggest income stream, providing over HK$8 billion since 2010. Around 4% of Hong Kong Jockey Club’s annual revenue (after prizes, dividends and rebates have been paid out) is returned to the Lotteries Fund. The table below shows how much money HKJC has paid into the Fund in recent years.
|Year||HKJC Betting and Lottery Net Revenue||% of Net Revenue Allocated to Lotteries Fund||Amount Allocated|
|2016/17||HK$33.9 billion||3.50%||HK$1.2 billion|
|2015/16||HK$32.7 billion||4.00%||HK$1.3 billion|
|2014/15||HK$31.2 billion||3.70%||HK$1.2 billion|
|2013/14||HK$29.8 billion||4.00%||HK$1.2 billion|
|2012/13||HK$27.2 billion||4.20%||HK$1.1 billion|
|2011/12||HK$25.1 billion||4.60%||HK$1.2 billion|
|2010/11||HK$23.7 billion||4.30%||HK$1 billion|
Any non-governmental organisation is eligible to apply for a grant from the Lotteries Fund. To receive a donation, the group must run on a not-for-profit basis and demonstrate that it will provide a valuable welfare service to the community.
Which Welfare Services Benefit?
Hundreds of different organisations receive donations each year and the allocations are spread out over six broad areas. Over HK$3 billion in funding was awarded in 2017/18, supporting a total of 560 projects. The following table shows how the money was distributed:
|Where the Money Goes||Amount Allocated||Percentage of Allocation|
|Elderly Services||HK$1.5 billion||51.12%|
|Social Welfare Support||HK$1 billion||36.03%|
|Family & Child Welfare||HK$68.5 million||2.27%|
|Young People||HK$11.6 million||0.39%|
|Services for Offenders||HK$8.7 million||0.29%|
The allocations were earmarked for capital works items, renovation, furniture, equipment and experimental projects. The Lotteries Fund will generally give one-off grants to projects with a limited timeframe, but recurrent funding is required in some cases for longer-term initiatives.
In 2016-17, for example, an allocation of HK$55 million was given to meet the construction costs of a residential care home for the elderly at the Social Welfare Facilities Block of the Public Rental Housing Development in Sham Shui Po. It was also estimated that an additional HK$14.1 million would be required in funding over the subsequent year.
A support group in Sha Tin also benefitted from funding. An initial HK$33.9 million was allocated in 2016-17 to help fit out and provide equipment for hostels for handicapped people and an integrated Vocational Rehabilitation Services Centre, while HK$26.4 million in additional funding was estimated for the next year.
HKJC’s Other Charity Work
Hong Kong Jockey Club has been helping good causes for over a century, and set up a separate company to look after donations in the 1950s, long before the first Mark Six draw took place. The HKJC Charities Trust was later launched in 1993 to provide even greater funding to a wider range of beneficiaries, and has gone on to become one of the top ten charity donors in the world.
The Charities Trust receives 70% of the operating surplus from all HKJC‘s lottery and sports betting revenue streams. In addition to the Mark Six lottery, HKJC has racecourses in Sha Tin and Happy Valley, and offers regulated betting on horse racing and football at over 100 off-course betting locations.
Who does the Charities Trust support?
The Charities Trust is committed to supporting a wide range of projects throughout the region and serves 10 key areas:
- Youth Development
- Elderly Services
- Sports and Recreation
- Arts, Culture and Heritage
- Education and Training
- Medical and Health
- Rehabilitation Services
- Family Services
- Environmental Protection
- Emergency and Poverty Relief
In 2016-17, the Charities Trust allocated a total of HK$7.6 billion across 216 different projects. This amount included a special donation of HK$3.5 billion for the construction of the Hong Kong Palace Museum to mark the 20th anniversary of the region’s handover from the UK to China.