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SBD Global/June 12, 2014/FinancePrint All
The Hong Kong Jockey Club "announced higher stake money across the board for next season to keep pace with its soaring betting turnover, maintaining its claim as the place with the world's highest prize money per race and setting the tone for future increases," according to Michael Cox of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. Total stake money for the '14-15 season is up by 7% to more than HK$963M ($124M), "and the package includes big bonuses for horses winning the Triple Crown or the Hong Kong Speed Series." Jockey Club Exec Dir of Racing Bill Nader said, "The increases we announced today are in line with the boost we've seen in turnover -- which will top HK$100 billion for the first time this season, and we want to keep pace with that." Big-money trainer John Moore "smashed the prize-money record this season," earning nearly HK$130M ($17M) domestically, and he believes that "the increases should encourage owners to spend more in a European-tried horse market." Moore said, "We are very lucky, but these changes will hopefully give owners the incentive to go out there and spend more money. It's harder to buy quality horses at a decent price in Europe now, with the Australians also there trying to buy horses for the Cups" (SCMP, 6/10).
Scottish Championship side Rangers "are to launch a new share issue" in a bid to raise in the region of £8M ($13M), according to the BBC. The new issue will "take place before the end of August." Rangers Chair Graham Wallace recently said the Ibrox club was "in a good place" financially. A minimum of £7M ($11.8M) "is needed to cover a cash shortfall at the newly-promoted Scottish Championship outfit." Major shareholders Laxey Partners and Rangers Chair Sandy Easdale "have both indicated they will buy more shares" (BBC, 6/11). In Glasgow, Keith Jackson reported Rangers’ "beleaguered directors are in urgent need of a cash injection after failing to win over thousands of hostile fans, who have refused to renew season tickets." The short-fall means Rangers "must raise funds immediately to avoid being sucked back into a perilous financial position, just two years after the insolvency nightmare that ended in the liquidation of the oldco." Easdale spent Monday "holed up in crunch talks with mysterious shareholders Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita Holdings, both of whom may now be gearing up to increase their holding in the club." The majority of the club’s blue chip institutional shareholders "are unlikely to be tempted to pour more cash into a club that has suffered horrendous losses" since raising £22M of investment at an IPO 18 months ago. The share price "has also crashed over that time, wiping millions off the club’s value" (DAILY RECORD, 6/11).
British bookmaker Betfred "has reportedly ceased operations in 19 different countries due to licensing issues," according to POKER STRATEGY. As a result, Betfred "will close the accounts of its customers in the affected countries in a timely fashion." The bookmaker "will give its customers 30 days to balance their accounts." The countries that are affected by Betfred's decision are: Germany, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Hungary, South Africa, Finland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Japan, Latvia, Portugal, Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania. The bookmaker "has not released an official statement" (POKER STRATEGY, 6/10).
Scottish Rugby "posted its highest-ever turnover" of £40M last year, according to the BBC. A record total of more than 600,000 people "passed through the turnstiles" for int'l, professional and club matches across the season. In the past year, it has added Famous Grouse, Unilever, Tennent Caledonian Breweries, BT Sport, Lucozade and Peter Vardy "to its list of blue-chip partners." Scottish Rugby Commercial Operations Dir Dominic McKay said, "Terrific strides have been made off the pitch over the course of the past year, culminating in the transformational partnership with BT which will deliver very positively for us for years to come, especially in funding the grassroots game" (BBC, 6/10).