The racing managers of San Lazaro Leisure Park, Santa Ana Park, and Metro Manila Turf Club have decided to continue their implementation of the new betting schedule begun last week.
The scheme, which features only one daily-double and forecast option, was put into effect in order to combat the depredations of illegal bookies on the legitimate operations.
At a meeting held yesterday, the three clubs agreed to pursue the scheme despite the loss of income they experienced last week. “We have to be steadfast about this,” a source said.
It is reported that last week the bookies tried to find a work-around by offering higher incentives at the start of the racing day. For instance, they offered a premium of 20 pesos on top of bets of 100 pesos.
However, it is said that they too did not make as much as they used to before the new scheme was implemented, showing the plan has a certain degree of effectivity.
Why are the clubs combating the bookies now, in an effort to direct wagers to legitimate outlets? One reason is the TRAIN law.
Among the horseracing nations, the Philippine Thoroughbred racing industry is one of the highest taxed. With the implementation of TRAIN, which doubles the documentary stamp tax from 10 percent to 20 percent, dividends to winners have dipped, causing racing sales to decline.
Horseracing is an industry worth almost P5 billion. Last year it earned close to P8 billion and remitted over P1 billion to the national government in the form of direct taxes, not counting indirect taxes.
If the government refuses to support the industry, they’ll be killing a goose that lays a billion-plus peso golden egg each year. Where else are they going to pick up that much money—borrow from China at exorbitant rates? Raise your right hand and wave goodbye to our autonomy.
I thought the industry killers would be substitute products (other forms of entertainment) and the high cost of operations, but that was before the TRAINwreck. Now that’s what will cause the industry’s death if it isn’t suspended, amended, or revoked.
The TRAIN law was drawn up without consultation from various industry sectors. Now its negative impact is being felt, not only by the racing industry but also by regular folk, who are hard-pressed to cope with the rising prices of fuel, food, and other basic commodities. And hello, inflation rate at 5.2 percent as of last month?!
The clubs have a hard fight and I hope they gain more support because the bookies really have to go. The police have to stop coddling them. The Games and Amusements Board, which is mandated to suppress illegal gambling, should step up its efforts, although I’m not sure they have the budget to do so.
For fans of the DD and FC, we’ll have to wait a bit longer before the racing clubs resume regular programming. In the meantime, let’s raise our voices to government about this awful TRAIN law.
Suspend TRAIN and study its effects and consequences on the various sectors more carefully. As it is now, it’s a menace.
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Dr. Ortuoste, a writer and researcher, has a PhD in Communication. Facebook: Gogirl Racing and @DrJennyO, Twitter: @drhoarsewhsprr and @DrJennyO