VRC uses fashion to attract Chinese

The Victoria Racing Club is treading carefully following the Crown arrests in China as it rolls out its first big marketing push into the country, local media reports.

The races will be available to nearly 20 million Chinese viewers through Chinese online social media giant, Sina Weibo, which pays for the rights.

Betting on horse races is illegal in China.

Victoria Racing Club’s head of international tourism and government, Lisa Patroni, said to avoid the gambling ban the campaign promoted the Melbourne Cup as a fashion event, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The Chinese government is conscious of the sorts of money leaving the country, but there is more sensitivity around gaming and casinos,” said Ms Patroni, adding that the club was “watching”.

“We’ve always been very careful in our positioning. That’s why we dialled up the fashion. The government will shut your website and memes down. We don’t talk gambling at all, but softly educate them on racing, and dial up the history and heritage of the Melbourne Cup.”

Around 7000 Chinese visitors have bought tickets to the Melbourne Cup this year, up from 5,000 in 2015.