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Looking at what didn't happen in Macau and lessons to be learned.

They couldn’t have picked a more appropriate date to bring the curtain down on the Macau Jockey Club- April 1- and all the memories of that buffet of randomness that made going racing in what was the former Portuguese enclave such great fun. 

As written here before, everything that happened right after checking into a suite at the Hyatt Regency Taipa should have been a movie. It was The Hangover before The Hangover. 

Over the next few weeks, much is going to be written about the MJC with fingers pointed in different directions and many questions being asked about why everything came apart at the seams and where The Blame Game is going to be placed.

Already being asked and discussed is, of course, the future of horse racing, especially as what’s happened in Macau is taking place hot on the heels of Singapore racing going down for the count in October, and as far as attracting a new generation is concerned- needed if horse racing is to continue.

Of course, this is a question asked regularly for the past few years and the answer can’t be having another DJ on course or someone else singing a gawdawful version of “Happy” because the CEO enjoys dancing to this song.

Frankly, anything and everything thrown together in misguided desperation by those with marketing in their titles in racing clubs works. 

The “on course experience” might actually be better without this fluff.

As Economist Simon Lee Liu-po, an honorary fellow at the Asia Pacific Institute of Business at the Chinese University, mentioned in the SCMP, the HKJC had diversified into football betting aimed at a younger audience and described horse racing as “old fashioned”.

Yes and Maybe. 

Personally speaking, it’s stating the obvious that the pastime needs a complete facelift while shedding any overt attempts to be seen as creating a new generation of degenerate gamblers. 

No amount of rambling on about “data” and buzz words by foo foo talking heads is enough.

It’s just more corporate waffling by self promoting amateurs to journalists needing “content” to fill up space.

With regards to what has happened in Macau, there are many Ifs and Buts being floated around with one of the most pertinent question being asked is whether any of this would have happened if the very savvy and much respected casino magnate Stanley Ho, an ardent horse lover, and extremely powerful horse owner, were alive and functioning?

Would he have been able to see what was being allowed to happen, stop the billion dollar haemorrhaging happening while he was on life support and get rid of the Greedy Bunch involved in the ruination of a racing club with a very good racetrack?


Could he have helped bring in a new generation who might see horse racing differently? 

Doubt it.

For this to happen, there’s a need for racing clubs to work with business partners, especially hip, new, aspirational brands and link horse racing with them and their usually very good and strategic marketing teams.

There is also the need to use the social media platforms they use to reach their customers to help spread the messages horse racing keeps missing out on because of not understanding how much the medium of the message works.

It’s also about creating a new product personality for horse racing that’s in sync with the brand of the city it’s in. 

Japanese racing does this extremely well.

The question is this: Who does horse racing want to be or see itself as being?

The bigger question is this: Which hip, new and aspirational product will want to be associated with horse racing- and gambling?

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