Money matters for revival of local horse racing - EntornoInteligente /

The fifth and fi­nal nom­i­na­tion for the Trinidad Der­by takes place to­day and if, as ex­pect­ed, all 10 hors­es hold their ground then a to­tal of $38,280 would have been paid in sub­scrip­tions dur­ing the five nom­i­na­tion stages. Five nom­i­na­tion stages spread over less than six weeks.

In­ter­est­ing­ly, the third nom­i­na­tion stage for the Di­a­mond Stakes al­so takes place to­day and in this case, if the nine hors­es who paid the sec­ond nom­i­na­tion hold their ground, a to­tal of just over $11,500 would have been paid over the three weeks of nom­i­na­tions.

What is in­ter­est­ing about these nom­i­na­tion events and the amounts paid by con­nec­tions of these hors­es, is that, notwith­stand­ing the nom­i­na­tion and pay­ment of sub­scrip­tions, con­nec­tions of the suc­cess­ful hors­es should not ex­pect to re­ceive any pay­ment un­til next year.

It is no se­cret that the Ari­ma Race Club (ARC) con­tin­ues to owe horse­men con­sid­er­able sums with win­ning con­nec­tions on­ly hav­ing re­ceived their pay­ments for races run-up to late Jan­u­ary 2019. This means that over sev­en months of win­nings are owed to horse­men notwith­stand­ing the re­ceipt of nom­i­na­tion fees for past races in the Clas­sic Di­ary as well as pay­ments from the Bet­ting Levy Board (BLB), al­beit at re­duced lev­els.

This is rem­i­nis­cent of what hap­pens when an or­gan­i­sa­tion is run­ning con­sis­tent loss­es and as such, all mon­ey re­ceived is be­ing di­rect­ed to fund deficits. Against a back­drop of deficits, it can on­ly be ex­pect­ed that the ARC will seek to con­serve/re­duce ex­pens­es at every op­por­tu­ni­ty. It is very dif­fi­cult to say if that is what they are do­ing though re­ports of pos­si­ble in­creased salaries for some em­ploy­ees would tend to go against that trend if true.

So while, it has been stat­ed that a group of own­ers are con­tact­ing promi­nent lawyers to seek re­lief in the courts for debts (own­ers stakes) owed by the ARC and to check if there is any ra­tio­nale or ba­sis for ac­tion against the cur­rent di­rec­tors of the ARC in terms of in­dem­ni­ty, this can­not be good for the sport. Let us hope bet­ter sense pre­vails in this re­gard.

One of the chal­lenges fac­ing the ARC is the re­duced earn­ings by the BLB from its tax­a­tion of the in­dus­try in gen­er­al, and the pri­vate bet­ting shops in par­tic­u­lar. This rais­es the spec­tre of in­ad­e­quate mon­i­tor­ing and mea­sure­ment of the turnover at the var­i­ous pri­vate bet­ting shops. This is­sue has plagued the rac­ing in­dus­try since cen­tral­i­sa­tion and if any­thing, has on­ly got­ten worse over the years. The rise of pri­vate mem­bers club has ex­ac­er­bat­ed the sit­u­a­tion.

Anec­do­tal ev­i­dence sug­gests that the turnover at the pri­vate bet­ting clubs is con­sid­er­ably un­der­stat­ed if the ev­i­dence of at­ten­dance at the shops and com­par­i­son of BLB tax re­ceipts from the com­bined pri­vate bet­ting shops com­pared to the ARC on days when there are on­ly for­eign races (such as Ken­tucky Der­by Day) is to be be­lieved. Sure­ly, in this the 21st Cen­tu­ry, there must be sci­en­tif­ic and pre­cise ways for the BLB to keep track of the turnover at the pri­vate bet­ting shops and by ex­ten­sion, ver­i­fy that they are re­ceiv­ing ac­cu­rate pay­ments. This is not rock­et sci­ence.

Every­where else in the world in which there is a pri­vate book­mak­ing in­dus­try, the pri­vate book­mak­ers are the main spon­sors of the lo­cal horse rac­ing in­dus­try since they recog­nise the sym­bi­ot­ic re­la­tion­ship. Un­for­tu­nate­ly, as in many oth­er ar­eas, T&T is an ex­cep­tion to that gen­er­al rule. Most of the ma­jor races in the UK are spon­sored by pri­vate bet­ting shops and it has been that way from time im­memo­r­i­al. This is sep­a­rate and apart from their tax­es due.

Notwith­stand­ing the many chal­lenges, it is to the cred­it of the lo­cal horse rac­ing com­mu­ni­ty that they con­tin­ue to sup­port the sport and the ARC. The rac­ing in­dus­try em­ploys thou­sands of in­di­vid­u­als but it is not those in­di­vid­u­als that keep the sport rolling. To a large ex­tent, it is the own­ers who con­tin­ue to pay the bills for the sport even though no re­turn (oth­er than any­thing earned on gam­bling) is be­ing re­ceived.

There is lit­tle doubt that this can­not con­tin­ue in­def­i­nite­ly but all in­volved in the sport must be look­ing for­ward to some­thing pos­i­tive be­ing un­fold by the new ex­ec­u­tive of the ARC. In­ter­est­ing­ly, while the lo­cal in­dus­try is lit­er­al­ly on its knees, on near­by St Lu­cia, they are fi­nal­is­ing plans to com­mence the sport of kings with the back­ing of pow­er­ful Chi­nese own­ers. This pos­es a sig­nif­i­cant risk to the lo­cal rac­ing in­dus­try since it opens up new pos­si­bil­i­ties for own­ers who might be able to prac­tice their love of the sport on an is­land much clos­er to Trinidad than the cur­rent al­ter­na­tive of Ja­maica. The prospect of St Lu­cia as an al­ter­na­tive to Trinidad is re­al and those re­spon­si­ble for the lo­cal in­dus­try must recog­nise it and adopt ac­tions re­quired re­tain­ing the sport in this coun­try.

While the love of the sport re­mains, it is the mon­ey that will keep the sport around. Hope­ful­ly, they re­alise that be­fore it is too late.

LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian


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