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SVL betting on horses

Caymanas racks up profit, record sales

Published:Friday | June 2, 2023 | 1:21 AM
Gladstone Taylor/Multimedia Photo Editor 
SVL Group Chairman Gary Peart addresses shareholders at the annual general meeting of Supreme Ventures Limited on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at the AC Hotel by Marriott in New Kingston.
Gladstone Taylor/Multimedia Photo Editor SVL Group Chairman Gary Peart addresses shareholders at the annual general meeting of Supreme Ventures Limited on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at the AC Hotel by Marriott in New Kingston.

Gaming and entertainment company Supreme Ventures Limited is looking to subsidiary Supreme Ventures Entertainment Limited, SVREL, to be a driver of profit this year.

Since its takeover of the Caymanas Park horse racing track through SVREL six years ago, the company has investing about $3.6 billion in rebranding and upgrading the facilities.

“This emphasis on improving the marketing and product offering was reflected in the ticket sales,” SVL Group Chairman Gary Peart told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting on Wednesday.

Gross ticket sales climbed above the $10-billion mark for the first time last year, Peart added, following a 19 per cent spike.

Also: “For the first time since we assumed the operations, Caymanas Park has turned a profit,” he added.

SVREL, operator of the horse racing track, generated earnings of $162.5 million in 2022 “due to deferred taxes”, spinning from a loss of $85.9 million in 2021, Peart reported.

Speaking after the meeting, Peart told the Financial Gleaner that the expected importation of new horse racing stock would add to the pool and make horse racing more competitive and attractive to bettors.

Government recently removed the GCT and SCT payable on horses imported for racing and breeding stock. Both breeders and owners have responded by moving to import as many as 100 horses this year, starting in July.

“With the expansion of the horse population, you will have more competitive races, and more competitive races means more bets, “Peart said, while citing recent events where on days when the races were not competitive, revenue flows were just $45 million to $50 million.

“If we have 10 competitive races, we actually have a day where the revenue would jump to about $76 million,” Peart said.

Consistent revenue from more competitive races would translate to about $1.6 billion in additional annual revenue over the 88 race days of the year, he added.

Revenue from sports betting, which covers mostly horse racing, totalled $14.38 billion for financial year 2022. For the first quarter ended March 2023, revenue totalled $3.7 billion. Sport betting is the second most lucrative income stream for SVL Group after lottery games.

Photovoltaic system

In addition to more horses, SVREL is looking to its new 1.3MW solar photovoltaic system to deliver cost savings of about $110 million on the company’s current $120-million energy bill.

The $400-million solar system will supply up to 95 per cent of Caymanas’ energy needs, Peart said.

However, SVREL has encountered difficulties in connecting the solar system to the Caymanas operations. The area of greatest concern is that of the stables which, Peart says, is badly in need of a complete overhaul.

Until that issue is resolved, the company is connecting the new tote board to the renewable energy system.

The company’s next big energy project will be property lighting for the track.

“When you put in lights at Caymanas, it becomes a game changer. If I have lights at Caymanas, I can have a night market, so that when the people of Portmore and St Catherine are leaving work, you can stop at Caymanas and get fresh produce on your way home,” Peart said.

“We can change the racing calendar and, say, do racing on a Wednesday, starting at 5:30 p.m. You can go to work, come home to Portmore, then you come to Caymanas for a night of racing. You then have more punters, more entertainment – it will be a huge game changer,” Peart asserted.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com