In a meeting last Monday, representatives of the three horseracing clubs—Manila Jockey Club, Inc., Philippine Racing Club, Inc., and Metro Manila Turf Club Inc.—agreed to continue the present betting scheme for at least two more cycles or six weeks.
The new betting scheme which features only one daily double (DD) and one forecast (FC) option each race day was implemented last month in an effort to stem illegal bookie operations.
The DD and FC are among the most popular betting options in horseracing and to give up the previous scheme of maximizing the schedule to accommodate as many DD and FC options as possible represents a loss in sales for the three clubs.
However, in their recent meeting, the clubs’ managers resolved to continue with the revised scheme and to review the impact of the move after six weeks.
They also plan to revive other betting options such as the place and double quinella, and to introduce the triple trifecta.
According to a South China Morning post article from 1994, “in a double quinella, punters bet on which horses will come first and second—in either order —in two races. In the triple trifecta, they will have to pick the first, second and third, also in any order, in three designated races.”
The racing clubs are also looking into increasing the minimum bet of win and place bets from P5 to P20.
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The racing industry is “in the doldrums,” to borrow from President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech at the National Information and Communications 2018 summit last month, where he used the phrase to refer to the Philippine economy in general.
Gross sales in racing have been declining this year ever since the implementation of the tax reform law (TRAIN) at the start of the year, which doubled the documentary stamp tax (DST).
Last year, gross sales of P7.37 billion yielded a net tax of P1.25 billion. This year, however, sales of the three racing clubs have dipped alarmingly—by 15.05 percent in February, 25.40 percent in March, 17.92 percent in April, and 22.71 percent in May.
Sales are in decline because bettors are receiving lower dividends as a consequence of the higher DST. Thus there is less interest among horseracing patrons to engage in their usual volume of wagering.
Correspondingly, government revenue by way of taxes has also been reduced.
Other effects of the TRAIN law such as high inflation have led to higher costs of operations for horseowners, horse breeders, racing clubs, off-track betting station operators, and horse trailer (transport) operators, among other businesses in the industry.
With a history of nearly 200 years as a formal sport, it is only now, under this administration, that the Philippine Thoroughbred industry is in actual and immediate danger of dying out.
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Dr. Ortuoste, a writer and researcher, has a PhD in Communication. Facebook: Gogirl Racing and @DrJennyO, Twitter: @drhoarsewhsprr and @DrJennyO