BGLC, Jamaica Racing Commission to host premium raceday
The Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) and the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) will host a premium raceday on December 5, dubbed the Diamond Mile, aimed at spurring revenue and investments in the racing industry.
The US$115,000 purse for the event will be funded by the more financially endowed BGLC, while the JRC will supervise the importation of horses for the event as well as other logistical issues. The purse is equivalent to around $13 million at current exchange rates.
"In the last two years, the BGLC has contributed [millions of] dollars in dividends to the Government, and every year - certainly for the last five years - we have exceeded our budget way in excess of what we have put aside for this venture," BGLC Chairman Gary Peart told Wednesday Business.
The BGLC is seeking private sector sponsorship for The Diamond Mile, but the regulatory agency is the only financial backer of the event to date, said Peart, who is also chairman of the JRC.
"But we have the resources in place to conduct the race," he said.
The raceday will feature 11 races in total with 10 races having a winner's purse of $1 million while the premium The Diamond Mile will top the list, making it "the richest single purse for a race in the Caribbean", Peart said.
The event has been some two years in the making.
"We believe this will incentivise and stimulate new persons coming into the industry ... and stimulate the breeding industry because if they want to get their horse to win these races, they are going to buy better horses," Peart reasoned.
The JRC is being merged with BGLC following years of financial losses at the racing commission. The merger of the two state bodies is intended to create a "properly funded" regulatory authority, with the JRC having complained of underfunding for years.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the figure for the purse.