Chairman of Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL) Paul Hoo reckons that the redevelopment of the activity that was once dubbed the “sport of kings” will lure both domestic and international visitors to the Park.
In fact, SVL is already in the process of applying for a tourist attraction licence, which seeks to ensure that the track is in accordance with the provisions of the Tourist Board Act, and is also in talks with tour operators in Montego Bay, St James, and Ocho Rios, St Ann, to begin profiting from local sport.
Ultimately, SVL wants Jamaica to become, among other things, a horse racing destination. Since taking over the track from the Government of Jamaica in March under a 30-year lease agreement, the company has begun to upgrade the facility to include more local and overseas betting.
The company also plans on introducing slot machines or video lottery terminals and setting up restaurants, as it seeks to measure up with horse racing destinations like Happy Valley in Hong Kong, China.
“That comes with the beautification of the track — video equipment, a proper tote board — because you really don't want to be exporting something that looks as though it is the poor cousin,” Hoo told editors and reporters during the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue office in Kingston.
“You will be competing against everybody else and screens that are showing on any given day eight or seven tracks. We will be competing for revenue so that is one of the things that we are currently working towards and it is a major investment.”
Jamaica's racing industry, which impacts approximately 20,000 individuals both directly and indirectly, has the potential to haul in up to $80 million on any given race day. The sport, which has been in Jamaica since 1785, sees an average of 6,000 individuals attending Saturday race days.