The Hong Kong Jockey Club is near-legendary, a name recognized worldwide. Originally established in 1884 as an amateur horse racing club, HKJC has evolved over the years to become HKJC Lotteries Limited (HKJC), Hong Kong, China’s only registered lottery operator.
The club initially started donating money to charities as far back as 1915, although its real commitment to social upliftment took hold in poverty-struck 1950s post-war Hong Kong, China. Today, HKJC donates funds to various charities through the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, which is one of the top ten charity donors worldwide.
Case study: Jockey Club Happy Companion Project
With growing global awareness of autism, it is becoming increasingly important to provide children with autism both quality education and a safe environment in which to learn. However, many children living with autism in Hong Kong, China are enrolled in mainstream schools, creating a challenge for these schools, teachers and the child.
The HKJC Charities Trust donated HKD 167 million to establish and support the three-year Jockey Club Happy Companion Project. This project provides comprehensive school-based support to students with autism enrolled in mainstream schools. It also offers their parents, teachers and the schools with support. The project is offered in approximately 300 primary and secondary schools. Eighteen regional centers provide parents with one-stop support services, while promoting public education on autism and eliminating social stigma and misunderstanding.
For the last ten years, the HKJC CharitableTrust Fund has donated on average HKD 3.7 billion annually. In FY2020, total donations equalled HKD 4.5 billion, with funding going to 210 charity and community projects. This excludes the HKD 20+ billion to treasury.
Case study: Jockey Club Living City Plan
The elderly population of Hong Kong is on the rise, due to longer lifespans and better access to healthcare. It is therefore important to consider the needs of the elderly in city and community design, to ensure they are able to continue accessing services and navigating the city without too many challenges.
To address the elder-friendliness of Hong Kong, China, the HKJC Charities Trust developed the Jockey Club Living City Plan. This district-based project aims to assess the elder-friendliness of each community, and work closely with said communities to improve the elder accessibility and age-friendliness of each district. The project also promotes an improved understanding of the elderly's needs to live fulfilling lives.
Overview of organizations involved
The Hong Kong, China government's Home Affairs Bureau oversees gaming, which is regulated under the Gambling Ordinance (1977). The HKJC Charities Trust was established to manage the distribution of HKJC’s charitable donations.
Distributing money to good causes
In addition to being Hong Kong, China’s single largest taxpayer, HKJC makes regular, large donations to fund community projects in ten different areas: youth development, elderly services, sports and recreation, arts, culture and heritage, education and training, medical and health, rehabilitation services, family services, environmental protections, and emergency and poverty relief.
Any registered charity or non-government organization domiciled within Hong Kong, China and which falls under a relevant category can apply for trust funding. HKJC donates approximately 90% of its after-tax operating surplus to good causes each year. During 2019, the trust donated close to USD 3 billion to treasury and approximately USD 400 million to charities. While there are ten areas of focus for the HKJC Charities Trust, four are given highest priority:
Youth Development covers a wide spectrum of activities aimed at uplifting, educating and supporting young people, to ensure a bright future for Hong Kong, China. Among the programs it has funded or developed are their PATHS to Adulthood: A Jockey Club Youth Enhancement Scheme, which was adopted into school curricula both within Hong Kong, China and abroad. The club also promotes the nurturing of creativity and sustainability, offering environments in which young people can realise their potential
HKJC is an advocate of positive ageing, and an important sector in their charitable donations is Elderly Services. Among others, the trust established the first integrated dementia care center in Hong Kong, China and in Southeast Asia. There are also ongoing projects to make the city more elder-friendly, as well as community research projects and publication to enhance the experience of the elderly and promote active ageing.
Sports and recreation
Promoting active, healthy lifestyles and sports is important to the DNA of HKJC. As an organization with its roots in sports and sports betting, the club makes considerable donations to sports development and recreation. Projects include club-supported recreational venues, the Hong Kong, China Sports Institute, and development programs for specific sports, like football.
Arts, culture and heritage
HKJC strives to strike a balance between preservation of Hong Kong, China’s important cultural heritage, and the development of a vibrant, modern art culture. To this end, they fund various projects that fulfill these goals, and also fund various art, culture and heritage festivals. Among others, the club donated towards the construction of the Hong Kong, China Academy for Performing Arts., and supports festivals like the Hong Kong, China Arts Festival.
About HKJC, the HKJC Charities Trust, and the Hong Kong, China Government
The Hong Kong Jockey Club, at the time an amateur horse racing club, was established in 1884. Today, HKJC holds the government-granted monopoly on pari-mutuel horse race betting, fixed odds sports betting on overseas football events, and lotteries. In 1959, HKJC formed a separate company, the Hong Kong Jockey Club (Charities) Ltd, to administer donations. In 1993, the HKJC Charities Trust was formed, and continues to manage distribution of HKJC’s charitable donations.
HKJC Lotteries Limited has a unique business model, comprising racing and racecourse entertainment, responsible sports wagering and lottery, a membership club, and charities and community contribution, which makes their substantial donations possible. The trust partners with government, NGOs and community partners, as well as establishing its own projects, under the scope of being a philanthropic organization in its own right.