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Majority bookmakers to resume racing sales

Published:Wednesday | May 23, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer

Most of the licensed bookmakers who took protest action from May 5 will resume sales on local racing from Caymanas Park today, having brokered an agreement with Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) yesterday for a new rights fees structure.

The meeting was attended by CTL's chairman, Joseph A. Matalon, CEO Franz Jobson and board member Andrew Azar on one hand, and representatives of the United Bookmakers Association led by its chairman, Xavier Chin (CEO of Track Price Plus), on the other hand.

According to Chin, part of the agreement reached yesterday will see the UBA providing CTL with their English racing signal at the original cost.

For the past two years, CTL had ceased sales on English Racing due to prohibitive cost by the simulcast providers, but in another week or two, this facility will return to Caymanas Park and its 61 betting parlours island-wide, live and direct.

New rights fees

More importantly, consensus was reached on a new rights fees structure, which has been modified a bit from that recommended in the Government-commissioned Mediation Report of 2011.

Agreement was reached whereby the bookmakers would pay a 61/2 per cent rights fee this year; seven per cent next year and 7.5 per cent in 2013, instead of seven per cent (retroactive) this year, eight per cent next year and nine in 2014 as recommended by the Muir Mediation Report.

Disclosing that six of the eight licensed bookmakers will resume sales today, Chin was quick to add that still on the agenda is a proposed recalculation of the 16.5 gross profit tax paid to government by the bookmakers and the provision of live television feed on local racing from Caymanas Park, issues which will be put squarely on the table when the bookmakers, stakeholders, promoters and regulatory bodies meet with Minister Horace Dalley in a proposed racing Summit at month's end.

No winners

"I am happy that agreement was reached between the UBA and the promoters as there were no winners in the prolonged impasse. We are in partnership with CTL and this will redound to the benefit of all parties," said Chin.

His sentiments were echoed by Jobson.

"We look forward to the return of English racing and although some things are still evolving, both parties will work for the benefit of the industry."

The licensed bookmakers representing Track Price Plus, Champion, Markham, Ideal, Summit, Caribbean Turf, Post to Post and Capital Betting and Wagering, ceased sales on local racing on May 5, 9, 16 and 19 over the issue of increased rights fees by CTL recommended by the Muir Mediation Report. They cited an inability to pay.