The country’s three horseracing clubs wrote the Philippine Racing Commission recently informing it that they are changing the schedule of certain betting options in order to fight illegal bookie operations.
The letter dated June 27, 2018 was addressed to Philracom Chairman Andrew Sanchez and was signed by the three clubs—Manila Jockey Club, Philippine Racing Club, and Metro Manila Turf Club. It states in full:
“The racing clubs in its [sic] effort to remain viable has [sic] agreed to adopt the following measures effective July 3, 2018.
“1. The Daily Double (DD) event will only be available for betting during the penultimate [second to the last] race.
“2. The Forecast (FC) event will only be available for betting during the last race.
“3. The Extra Double (XD) event will be the basis for substitution for late scratching of horses for all races except the last 2 races.
“The above measures were initiated to fight the illegal betting operations in the country.”
The letter was signed by MJC Chairman Atty. Alfonso Reyno Jr., PRC Chief Operating Officer Santiago Cualoping III, and MMTC Chairman Dr. Norberto Quisumbing Jr.
As of presstime (6:30 p.m. last night), there has been no formal reply from Philracom, because they received the letter only on July 2, at 3:15 p.m.—a little over 24 hours before the implementation of the racing clubs’ scheme. It is expected that the Commission will meet on it today.
Industry sources confirm that the initiative is fully supported by the three racing clubs. This is being done, they say, to reduce bookie incentives to policeman who are protecting their illegal operations.
“The system is the bookies from the start [of the betting] get some money from the little bets they have and give these to the policemen. If you take that away in the early part [of the raceday], you take away the incentive that bookies give to the police.”
According to an insider of 30 years’ standing, “[This move] is a consensus of the three clubs which have decided [to do something] because government [in this case, law enforcement] is not doing anything” to stop the bookies.
“Bookies proliferated after the TRAIN law was passed” because the law increased taxes on winnings and the documentary stamp tax.
“After TRAIN,” my source said, “racing fans turned to bookies, who got more mileage and their efforts are depleting the clubs. We [the industry] have to fight back.”
The races last night were held at MJC’s San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite. All industry sectors were invited by MJC management to attend a meeting there and observe the outcome of the new betting scheme.
As of 6:00 p.m., already present at SLLP were Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing, Games and Amusements Board Chairman Baham Mitra, as well as representatives of the racing clubs, trainers, and jockeys.
Several of the attendees told me they intended to observe all the races last night in order to gauge the impact of the new scheme.
I remember some years ago, when I was still commentating races on air, that the same or a similar scheme was initiated for the same reason—mid-2000’s, I think. Back then, the DD had sales of about P1 million each time. When the DD was returned to its regular schedule, sales for the event never reached those heights again.
What needs to be done is for law enforcement to do its job to suppress bookies. They can start by policing their ranks for the coddlers of bookies. I heard there was supposed to be a racing industry meeting with new PNP chief Oscar Albayalde about this matter, but it did not push through because he had another engagement the day of the meeting.
The racing industry has been around for over 150 years and provides employment and business opportunities to thousands of people. It has customs, traditions, and a unique culture all its own. It even has its own language (salitang karera)!
It should not die just because of bookies and erring policemen. It is brave of and right for the the three racing clubs to stand up against the illegal bookie menace.
This event is still developing, and we’ll get back to you with an update of this matter.
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Dr. Ortuoste, a writer and researcher, has a PhD in Communication. Facebook: Gogirl Racing and @DrJennyO, Twitter: @drhoarsewhsprr and @DrJennyO