Horse Racing
New initiatives to enhance customer experience for season 2021/22

31/08/2021 12:14

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has added a series of enhancements to its wagering entertainment offerings in the new season, which will commence at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday, 5 September.

Mr. Richard Cheung, Executive Director, Customer and International Business Development said, “I would like to thank our team for such a portfolio of new initiatives from digital to customer venues and product experience, despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19.” 

A. Digital Transformation of Customer Experience

Since 2014, the Club has launched the digital transformation of the wagering experience with successful offerings including HKJC FPS instant funds transfer, mobile betting apps, HKJC customer eCentre and HKJC TV, all of which continue to receive significant customer up-take. In the new season, the following new offerings will be available: 

Online Account Opening 
The HKJC Account Opening App, powered by an AI-based computer vision for identity verification, has completed its pilot launch since May this year. The offering is now in full service and qualified customers can enjoy the convenience of opening a betting account anytime, anywhere via their smartphones. 

Customer Service Chatbot 
The Customer Service Chatbot will be launched in September, offering new alternatives for the Club to complement our call centres when addressing common customer enquiries. Customers can access the service via HKJC Customer Centre website as well as the different mobile betting apps on a 7×24 basis.   

Racing Touch iPhone version  
Racing Touch, the iPad and Android App popular among younger generation fans with more than 230,000 active users, will launch its iPhone version in Q2 2022 to allow more customers to enjoy the App.  

New ways to watch live racing 
The HKJC TV App, with more than 280,000 active users, will introduce two new and exclusive features to enhance the livestreaming experience for our fans. Firstly, on the App’s multiple screens, starting from the new season, the App will offer new camera angles at the Starting Gate. This allows fans to observe how their favourite horses behave a few minutes before entering the stalls. This is a piece of information that many fans are keen to know.

The second feature is “Find My Horse” (empowered by AI) – a computer vision-based feature which assists customers to see where their selected horses are in the running field during highly dynamic live races. The pilot customer version will be launched in Q4 2021 with a full launch in 2022.

“One new trend our customers may notice is that, more and more of our digital experience offerings such as account opening, customer service Chatbot or computer vision, are based on artificial intelligence. Like all AI-based applications, the algorithms are not perfect on Day 1 and are constantly learning, so we hope our customers can understand that we are on a continuous improvement journey to exceed their expectations,” explained Mr. Richard Cheung.

B. Racecourse Masterplan

The 2021/22 season will witness another round of Racecourse Masterplan project completion:

Sha Tin Racecourse
The “Backstage Fun Zone” near the public entrance will reopen in November. It will be converted to a new zone for eSports Motion Games around racing. Customers will be able to experience motion games such as simulated riding, balancing bosu or eye sight response machines, which are all the key ways jockeys are training themselves as athletes.

In addition, the popular digital zone will be expanded to create more seats for the more digital savvy public customers.

Happy Valley Racecourse
Located in Members Stand III 2/F, a brand-new restaurant for public racegoers called ‘Keiba’ will open in November. Encompassing a retro kissaten interior, the restaurant offers a Japanese Style Western cuisine amongst a cosy and luxurious vibe.

Also re-opening is the Topaz, the member restaurant on MIII 7/8F. The new renovation is inspired by Chinese astronomy – with elements of stars and planets to bring an elegant Chinese dining experience.

C. OCBB (Off-Course Betting Branches) Renovation

Besides the racecourses, customers can also enjoy new experiences in our OCBBs. The Club has embarked on an OCBB renovation journey with the core theme of transforming transacted-oriented branches into experience branches catering for different customer segments.

The North Point Wins Café OCBB and LOHAS lifestyle OCBB are successful attempts from last season.

In the coming season, three OCBBs, namely Central Stanley Street, Kwun Tong Plaza and Kwai Chung Wing Fong Road, will see a new face with the introduction of new cafes/restaurants featuring new design themes. This includes the debut launch of a branded-female-oriented cafe in Central Stanley Street branch by Q2 2022 in alignment with our strategy to cater for the needs of female customers.

D. Simulcast Betting and World Pool

The Club welcomed the HKSAR Government’s decision to increase the number of simulcast days per year to 37 days, under which the Club was able to showcase racing from across the globe during the off-season through July and August.

The HKJC-hosted World Pool on simulcast races has been a successful innovation with 20 – 40% turnover growth per meeting driven by overseas participation. This season we expect 20 out of the 37 simulcast days to have World Pool. The World Pool meetings will come from UK, South Africa, Dubai and Ireland, further reinforcing Hong Kong as a leading global racing jurisdiction.

E. $70 million mega prize to mark season opening

To usher in the new racing season, a mega prize totalling $70 million is up for grabs across the first two race meetings, split evenly ($35 million each) on Sunday, 5 September at Sha Tin Racecourse and Wednesday, 8 September at Happy Valley Racecourse.  

All customers entering racecourses, Off-Course Betting Branches and placing bets must be aged 18 or above.

Attachment: Factsheet – New initiatives for 2021/22 season