Despite a proud 209 year history, Mauritius horseracing authorities could be left managing the ambulance service, horse sampling and lawn maintenance as the government moves to effectively nationalise racing on the island.
Section 35 of the Finance Bill was to be presented for first reading in the Mauritius National Assembly on Tuesday and covered amendments to the GRA Act.
The Mauritius Turf Club and MTC Sports & Leisure held a joint press conference earlier this week which included Directors of the MTCSL, Anoop Madhow, Paul France Tennant, Denis Doger de Speville, Acting CEO Jerome Tuckmansing. Benoît Halbwachs and Jean-Michel Giraud, respectively Secretary and President of MTC, were also present.
“We could have expected that this Bill would include decisions that would not be good for us, but we realize that these are even worse than we expected. We are going to face a real nationalization of races through the Horse Racing Division and the GRA, which will not only affect betting, but also the organization of races. This Bill aims to remove the last remaining prerogatives of the MTCSL. After having set up a Board Of Appeal, it will now appoint the Stipes, decide which races will be on the cards, how many race days there will be and who will be allowed to race or not. In addition, it will decide about the licenses of trainers, jockeys and who will be eligible to be an owner. In a nutshell, they will have full control of the races. The MTCSL will only be left with the ambulance service, horse sampling and lawn maintenance! The regulator wants to become the organizer. This doesn’t exist anywhere in the world! “, Chairman Jean Michel Giraud said at the outset.
To confirm his claims, the Chairman cited the example of the United Kingdom, UK Gambling Commission and the British Horseracing Authority, which act in complete independence of each other.
Giraud said that the Mauritius government wanted to implement the Parry report but that this Bill only provides for the opposite.