The End of Sunday Racing in JamaicaPublished January 18, 2010
Races Destined to Fail.
Chris Armond, Director of Caymanas Track Limited (CTL), this week announced that there would be no further Sunday races following on from the recent trials.
Speaking to the Jamaica Observer, he put the blame fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the Jamaican Government, who he said had failed to pass the legislation necessary to allow off-track betting to take place.
Powerful Church Lobby
Prior to the commencement of Sunday racing and throughout the trial, the Church had lobbied strongly against any additional gambling opportunities being approved and particularly disliked the races taking place on the day of rest.
Doomed from Day One
With the failure to approve the opening of off-track betting, the Sunday races were more or less doomed from day one, as this income stream accounts for some 70% of CTL's takings.
"Unless we're able to sort out the situation with regard to our Off Track Betting parlours being open on a Sunday, it's not feasible to go ahead with Sunday racing," said.
The races themselves drew large crowds, with the inaugural Sunday race day on November 29 taking close to $40 million. Although this figure sounds impressive without the additional off-track betting income, their continuation was simply not viable.
Time to Reflect
The 2010 racing calendar for 2010 has now been issued by CTL without the inclusion of any Sunday races. With arguments abounding about the government's need to support the racing industry, as well as embrace an initiative that boosted the economy, it remains to be seen whether the Government will reconsider their decision in the future.