A combination of legislative changes and poor performance means South African horse racing is set to have its prize money slashed by 13 percent across the board.
One of the country’s biggest fixtures, Cape Town’s Sun Met, is expected to be hit the worst with a cut of 40 percent, down from R5m (£270,000) to R3m (£160,00). The reason for the dearth in funds is primarily due to the public company Phumelela enduring declining turnover of the year, and posting losses at its subsidiary, Betting World, the country’s largest bookmaker.
To make matters worse, a recent ruling by the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) also deliberated that the company should be stripped of its racing levy, after accusations were made into the sale of assets to Phumelela dating back to 1997.
Phumelela said in a statement it is “currently negotiating with the GPG and the Gauteng Gambling Board in an attempt to have its share of the levy reinstated”.
The racing association also recently announced that Flamingo Park racecourse will close in December, making it the third South African track to shut in six years, meaning only seven remain in South Africa.
Phumelela was receiving a half-share of the six per cent tax on winning bets. “The unilateral removal of the distribution of a portion of the tax levied on punters’ winnings by the Gauteng Gambling Board will create an almost insurmountable problem for the operators,” said Phumelela.
“We would urge that the authorities reconsider this decision in the interest of all employees of the industry.”