Gambling industry in Mauritius reels under impact of recent budgetary measures
The Commission of Inquiry on “Horse Racing in Mauritius” was set up in the wake of allegations of corruption in horse racing in Mauritius, which has made no less than 23 recommendations to clamp down on illegal betting, corruption and the proliferation of betting through embedded injustice in the system with a view to establish a level playing field.
In the recently announced Budget 2015, measures proclaimed to regulate the gambling industry in Mauritius may prove lethal for operators as the government does not favour a “Nation Zougadere.”
The first measure was a complete ban on issue of new gaming and betting licenses except for casinos for a period of five years, following by the abolition of gambling advertisements, together with elimination of scratch card games on the market.
Additional measures included substantial increase in gaming licence fees and betting taxes and relocation of all gaming houses from city centres to approved designated areas by municipalities and district councils within a period of three years with government to participate in the cost of relocation.
The impact of these measures is hugely adverse for gaming operators as demonstrated by the fate of listed companies on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius namely Automatic Systems Limited (ASL) and Lottotech Ltd. These gaming majors are already alerting investor through official communiqué that these measures will negatively impact company results.
Dampened investor attitudes were already reflected in the significant drop in the respective share prices of ASL and Lottotech by approximately 35% each upon budgetary announcements on 23 March 2015.
The government is also determined to combat the mafia in the gambling industry, mainly in the horse racing segment, that has brought so much suffering to punters and the public at large, with a slew of committed actions aimed to bring back absolute sports integrity into the industry.
The Commission of Inquiry on “Horse Racing in Mauritius” was set up in the wake of allegations of corruption in horse racing in Mauritius. No less than 23 recommendations have been made to clamp down on illegal betting, corruption and the proliferation of betting through embedded injustice in the system with a view to establish a level playing field.
The Commission stresses on the abolition of the role of the ‘stable manager’ which it qualifies as an “anachronism” and hits hard on instances of conflicts of interest within horse racing which it says is the root cause of many of the evils in the gambling industry.