Thu | Aug 24, 2017

SVL plots the way forward for Caymanas Park

Published:Wednesday | March 8, 2017 | 3:00 AMTameka Gordon
Brando Hayden, chief operating officer of Supreme Ventures

Supreme Ventures Limited laid out its plans to increase revenue, reimage the racing industry and add new business segments, as it formally took control of the operations of Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) on Tuesday.

The lottery and gaming company has created a new subsidiary for the horse racing business, called Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL).

Brando Hayden, chief operating officer of Supreme Ventures, who has oversight of the track, said SVREL will roll out its programmes over a stretch of five years, covering two components regulatory processes and the commercial operations.

Stakeholder consultations towards the crafting of the plan revealed: "They wanted a return to a family friendly environment; a change in the image of the racing industry; on time payment of purses, a cleaning up of the place; strengthening of security, renovations of bathrooms and elevators and inclusion of an elevator," Hayden said at the company's media launch on Tuesday.

Supreme Ventures acquired Caymanas Track, operator of the Caymanas Park horse racing track, from the Jamaica Government.

Noting the previous management "had little capital to work with," Hayden said SVREL will pump the well needed investment into the business to bring it to world class standards.

"We are going to be in a position to put more capital into the business than what would have been done before," he said.

Among its plans, the company will focus on security, ambulance services for the animals and personnel, garbage disposal and reshaping the image of racing facility.

"All of these things will impact the timing and investment that we have in the plan," said Hayden.

EYES SET ON IMPROVING PROPERTY

For its commercial operations, SVREL will focus on revenue generation, cost containment, refurbishing the physical plant, and the addition of other buildings and amenities. It will also eliminate the turnstiles at the entranceway.

"We are looking to beautify the property, repainting and landscaping and installing an elevator so we can cater to our patrons of all ages," Hayden said.

A multipurpose gaming facility, simulcast centre and air-conditioned VIP lounge will be added. The north lounge and the party stand will also be renovated.

All the construction and beatification will take place without interruption to the racing product, he said.

"We are going to be integrating technology, primarily for revenue enhancement and developing new revenue lines such as new wagering products," the COO said.

The re-emerging cruise ship segment in Kingston is also being looked at as a prospective revenue source, he added. "We want a racing product that will appeal to new entrants to the business and to the tourism sector as well."

Tourists who feel for a day at the races can come to Caymanas, Hayden told Gleaner Business following the media launch.

He declined to comment on just how much new business the racetrack is projecting, overall.

"We have a very strong distribution network of 1,200 agents across the country. We will be strategically rolling out wagering services to them so folks can bet through Caymanas and our simulcast products as well. It's largely about leveraging the network that SVL has," he said.

SVREL will also focus on training programmes for staff.

"Racing is going to be done the SVL way and we believe that's a plus," he said

SVREL has 160 staff members "not including race day personnel," he said, but declined to comment on redundancies.

Last week, managing director of Caymanas Track, Shane Dalling, said a $200 million redundancy package had been set aside for 370 workers.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com