‘The beleaguered Korean racing industry was thrown a potential lifeline’ reports the Korean media ‘following a bill to seek the online sale of betting tickets.’
In submitting a bill to the National Assembly, a group on 15 ‘lawmakers’ are seeking partial amendments to the Korea Horse Racing Act which governs betting on horse racing in Korea.
Led by Representative Kim Seung-Nam of the ruling Democratic Party, the bill is seeking to alter the Korean Horse Racing Act which only permits wagering at a racecourse or off-track betting facility.
‘The bill allows for a temporary suspension of online wagering should the turnover exceed an acceptable level that is set by the government,’ stated a spokesperson for Kim Seung-Nam.
‘Minimizing the damage to the industry while preventing the spread of the coronavirus is also needed, as here are those who are concerned about the effects of legalizing online wagering.’
However, with the announcement that racing is shutting down again in September, Korea needs the online betting legislation passed as racing may not resume again this year.
Racing in Korea resumed in June behind closed doors following the COVIT lockdown in February, with neither the racecourse or off-track facilities allowing customers.
The Korea Cup and Korea Sprint, Korea’s two international races run in September, have been postponed by for year with the prolonged shutdown causing a near-collapse of the industry.
Elsewhere in Asian, racing in Japan and Hong Kong has continued largely unaffected during the pandemic with customers betting online from home during lock downs.
The Japan Cup will still be run in November, but only open to Japan-trained horses without any international visitors.
Today Korea remains one of the only countries in the world still not allowing online wagering, and horse racing’s collapse would have dire consequences.
Not only are the racing and breeding industries significant employers, but the Korea Racing Authority is one of the largest taxpayers in Korea and provides significant support to rural communities.
Of the total wagering turnover, 73% is returned as dividends, 10% is paid in general taxation, 4% to local education programs and 2% to support farming and fishing communities.
Operating expenses account for 7% of turnover, while profits are 4% with the majority of that contributed back to an agriculture development fund.
It is estimated that by the end of August, 751.7 Billion Korean Won, US $634 million, in tax revenue will have already been lost.
Should the bill proceed normally, it would be expected to go through the committee stages between October and December before potentially coming to a vote of the full National Assembly in early 2021.
Back on the track, Korea has a new champion on the horizon with the 4yo filly Dia Road making it 8 wins in 9 starts in recently taking out the Ttukseon Cup of 1400m at Seoul’s LetsRun Park.
In being the first leg of the important Queen’s Tour, Dia Roads proved too strong at level weights against older runners to win by five lengths, having been a last start winner of the Dong Ilbo Cup.
Bred in Korea and now racing against foreign bred’s, Dia Road is by the deceased former Flemington stakes winner Captain Coltish, from the good Korean winning Menifee mare Gieongnal Geunal.
One race later, the British Epsom Derby winning jockey Alan Munro recorded his first Korean stakes victory with 3yo East Jet winning the Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association Trophy of 1200m.
In bring together some of the nation’s top sprinters, Easy Jet defeated the only other 3yo Eoma Eoma to give Alan Munro 67 winners from 570 rides in Korea, having broken his wrist earlier this year.