Horse Racing

BGLC unsaddles Diamond Mile

…regulatory body to be main sponsor of ultra-rich race for last time this year

BY OBSERVER RACING WRITER

Friday, February 22, 2019

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The Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC), through its Chairman Clovis Metcalfe, announced at the first Diamond Mile press conference for the year on Tuesday of this week at Caymanas Park that the regulatory body is looking for an event and entertainment promoter to take over the staging of the Diamond Mile race day as of 2020. The fifth staging of Jamaica's most prestigious race day later this year is the final occasion that the gaming regulator is taking the lead as main sponsors of the Diamond Mile.

“It was always intended that the BGLC would eventually handover the event to an organisation that can take the Diamond Mile to its next level as a premier multifaceted entertainment event,” Metcalfe made known. “We are ready to have dialogue with interested parties with regards to the Diamond Mile race day for 2020,” he stated.

The Diamond Mile offers the richest purse for a single race in the English-speaking Caribbean. The BGLC contributes $20 million each year towards purses for the race day which sees the Diamond Mile race itself offering a purse of US$115,000.

Under the BGLC's stewardship, the Diamond Mile has realised success as evidenced by a number of records. These include the highest number of entries for a single race day, highest attendance of racing fans stands at Caymanas Park and the highest sales for local and simulcast betting on a single race day.

Over its four years, the Diamond Mile has also become a “hot ticket” event with guests arriving dressed in their fashionable finest to enjoy a premium, all-inclusive experience on the infield at Caymanas Park.

The Diamond Mile race day was conceptualised, copyrighted and launched by the BGLC in 2015 under then chairman of the BGLC, Gary Peart as a stimulus to resuscitate the horse racing sector.

Metcalfe revealed that while this bold and unusual undertaking for a gaming regulator has reaped benefits for horse racing, the Commission must concentrate on its core mandate to regulate Jamaica's diverse gaming industry which contributed over $6 billion to government revenue for 2017-2018.

“We must ensure that Jamaica's gaming industry operates with integrity in a structured and disciplined manner; that consumers who participate in gaming are protected from unscrupulous practices and that we ensure that the public, especially those most vulnerable, are protected from gambling-related harm by implementing responsible gaming strategies,” Metcalfe said.

Metcalfe advised industry stakeholders that the BGLC remains committed to making the appropriate investments towards the sustainability of Jamaica's horse racing industry. He said that in addition to the Emancipation Race Day and the Diamond Mile, the Commission will also sponsor the TOBA Triple Crown series for two and three-year-olds that is expected to premier this year.


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