Macao (Yut Yuen) Canidrome Co Ltd, which operates Macau’s greyhound racing track, had its licence renewed until July 20, 2018, according to an executive order published in Macau’s Official Gazette.
This is the second time that Yut Yuen has had its licence renewed. In November 2015, the firm’s concession was extended to December 31, 2016, following the expiration of a ten-year contract granted to the company in 2005.
Yut Yuen current stadium – known as the Macau Canidrome – is located in the northern area of the Macau peninsula, in a densely populated district. In July, the Macau gaming regulator ordered the firm to relocate its greyhound racing track or shut down operations, within two years.
Yut Yuen is the sole operator of greyhound racing betting in the city. The company is part of the business empire built by casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung Sun, founder of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd. Angela Leong On Kei, an executive director of SJM Holdings, currently heads Yut Yuen.
On Tuesday, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac, commented on the government’s decision regarding the renewal of the contract with Yut Yuen. Mr Leong stated the company would need to consider – prior to July 20, 2018 – if it wanted to keep operating its dog racing business.
If the company were to choose that option, it would need to find a new location, the official said, according to a government statement.
Mr Leong additionally said that any new site would need to comply with urban planning rules in general and, in particular, would need to avoid creating any negative effect on local people’s livelihoods.
Yut Yuen has been under pressure in business terms and in public relations terms for several years: animal right activists have accused the firm of killing annually hundreds of healthy greyhounds for commercial reasons, allegedly when dogs fail to meet the company’s performance standards.
Gross revenue from greyhound racing declined 13.8 percent year-on-year in 2015. The annual tally was MOP125 million (US$15.6 million), compared to MOP145 million in 2014.
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"If the [Macau casino] concessions are put up for bid, there will also be a lot of giant Chinese companies, some having nothing to do with gaming, which would like to take over these enormously successful casinos”
Professor emeritus at Whittier Law School in California, in the United States, and a visiting professor at University of Macau