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Gaming laws hindering $20M investment in horse racing- Hon Walwyn

- said he is not the one standing in the way of Pari-Mutuel Wagering
Minister responsible for Sports Hon Myron V. Walwyn (AL), right, claims a private investor is willing to pump some $20M into Ellis Thomas Downs facility. Photo: VINO
President of the VI Horse Owners Association, Mrs Patsy C. Lake has been advocating for Pari-Mutual Wagering to be introduced in the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
President of the VI Horse Owners Association, Mrs Patsy C. Lake has been advocating for Pari-Mutual Wagering to be introduced in the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
Some of the persons at the luncheon to honour horse racing stalwarts at Ellis Thomas Downs yesterday, November 13, 2016. Photo: VINO
Some of the persons at the luncheon to honour horse racing stalwarts at Ellis Thomas Downs yesterday, November 13, 2016. Photo: VINO
Some of the persons at the luncheon to honour horse racing stalwarts at Ellis Thomas Downs yesterday, November 13, 2016. Photo: VINO
Some of the persons at the luncheon to honour horse racing stalwarts at Ellis Thomas Downs yesterday, November 13, 2016. Photo: VINO
The horse racing honourees on November 13, 2016 were Paul 'on the ball' Hewlet and Karl 'Dub' Scatliffe, who are well known commentators, Immanuel Hodge and Ifield Hodge who were horse owners from Huntums Ghut and the Punchenella group also from Huntums Ghut- Kelvin 'Gushie' Thomas, Roy L. 'Yellow' Garraway, Ashley 'Feather' Warner, and Derrick 'Aruba' Marshal, who have contributed positively towards the development of the sport throughout the years. Photo: VINO
The horse racing honourees on November 13, 2016 were Paul 'on the ball' Hewlet and Karl 'Dub' Scatliffe, who are well known commentators, Immanuel Hodge and Ifield Hodge who were horse owners from Huntums Ghut and the Punchenella group also from Huntums Ghut- Kelvin 'Gushie' Thomas, Roy L. 'Yellow' Garraway, Ashley 'Feather' Warner, and Derrick 'Aruba' Marshal, who have contributed positively towards the development of the sport throughout the years. Photo: VINO
SEA COWS BAY, Tortola, VI- Minister for Education and Culture Hon Myron V. Walwyn says a mind-set change and a discussion amongst the VI Horse Owners Association (VIHOA), along with the present laws of the territory on prohibiting gaming, are the three things standing in the way of taking the sport to the next level.

The Minister responsible for Sports was delivering an impromptu speech at the Sunday November 13, 2016 grand luncheon at Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay to honour eight men: Messers Paul “On the Ball” Hewlet and Karl “Dub” Scatliffe, who are well known commentators, Immanuel Hodge and Ifield Hodge who were horse owners from Huntums Ghut and the Punchenella group also from Huntums Ghut- Kelvin “Gushie” Thomas, Roy L. “Yellow” Garraway, Ashley “Feather” Warner, and Derrick “Aruba” Marshal, who have contributed positively towards the development of the sport throughout the years.

According to Hon Walwyn, the same investor from Florida who recently signed a $20M deal with the neighbouring USVI to improve their horse racing was brought to him by President of the VI Horse Owners Association (VIHOA) Mrs Patsy C. Lake and is also interested in the Virgin Islands (UK).

The agreement between the Government of the US Virgin Islands and VIGL Operations LLC calls for the latter to take over the management of both the Clinton E. Phipps racetrack on St Thomas and the Randall “Doc” James racetrack on St Croix. VIGL will partner with the government to transform the local horse racing industry and bring new revenue streams and jobs to the territory.

USVI Governor Kenneth E. Mapp had announced late last month that, under the terms of the deal, VIGL will make a $30 million capital investment at both tracks.

Hon Walwyn claimed VIGL is willing to invest $20M @ Ellis Thomas Downs

“…and they want to spend 20 million towards improving the track but there are certain things that must be done in order for it to be bankable and one of those things is addressing our laws as it relates to gaming. Because it’s no sense of these people spending 20 million and they are not making any returns out of it,” Hon Walwyn said.

“If we work together and get some of the things done right we can make sure that horse racing not just becomes a sport for enjoyment, but for commercial purposes as well.”

Not standing in the way of pari-mutuel

The Minister also noted that he is not the one in the way of making pari-mutuel wagering a reality in the territory.

“…Because I went out on a limb and made a statement in the House and I said it is time for us to move in that direction but I cannot do it by myself, it’s going to take all of us to make sure that our voices are heard, that we need to do something with horse racing to keep it alive and pari-mutuel is one of those ways of getting it done. There are opportunities out there but it just takes a movement of the community to change certain things.”

President of the VI Horse Owners Association (VIHOA), Mrs Patsy C. Lake urged the VIHOA to make their voices heard since very soon St Croix and St Thomas will no longer need them for their tracks.

28 honoured so far

Meanwhile, Mrs lake said 28 persons have so far been honoured by the VI Horse Owners Association.

“We salute our honourees, we are very proud of what they have done,” she added.

Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith, in his message, congratulated the eight recognised on Sunday and stated that the horse racing sport holds a very significant meaning in the VI culture and heritage, and for many years it has been part of the territory’s annual holiday activities and commemorative celebrations.

“We are therefore delighted to see this long- standing tradition continues to draw people from near and far, to participate in one of the liveliest events on our annual calendar,” he said, adding his commendation to the VIHOA for honouring these horse racing stalwarts.

Leader of the Opposition Hon Julian Fraser stated likewise through his message, that “These men being honoured are definitely no strangers to the community of racing fans and myself as their presence is unavoidable in the sport. The VIHOA must also be credited for being seen as giving back to the sport in a way that can only result in its longevity.”

Karl “Dub” Scatliffe was the only honouree not present yesterday.

18 Responses to “Gaming laws hindering $20M investment in horse racing- Hon Walwyn”

  • Hmm (14/11/2016, 10:20) Like (8) Dislike (6) Reply
    Why are you people so quick to let outsiders come into your country to invest that kind of money, do you think that will not have strings attached? I don't see we need all that outside assistance. Besides, it's the same people who've been involved with horse racing, is who will continue to be involved and that is the problem right there.
    • whoknow (14/11/2016, 11:26) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply

      Desperation! And so we will continue to make bad decisions on ideas with no real thought behind them.
    • ok (14/11/2016, 11:32) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
      So which local will invest $20 mil in the track? STOP BEING AN IDIOT!! It's a horse track, it's not like they're taking over our schools etc. Their returns will be in the form of betting/gaming as the house never loses. $20 mil is chump change if they have a long-term contract and will be a win-win for us once the agreements are done right. Our Government have no call investing millions in horse racing just because. Our people are no longer investing heavily in the races because you spend over $10K on your horse preparing for a race to win $2500? With new gaming in place we can have horse racing more often and the purses can be attractive so that locals can feel better investing in a horse. Horse racing is a damn good thing, stop being small minded and realize the rest of the world is going leave us. If you can find locals willing to invest $20Mil then I'm with you but if you can't, then STFU and let the people with the money and expertise do it.
      • unknown (15/11/2016, 11:32) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        i am so glad u said this people in the bvi so stupid when it comes to certain things that can really benefit the county i wonder what would they say in the near future when no longer have a horse race because everyone is going abroad because the bvi will only be racing there own Horses this gambling and betting is being done legally do they even think on how much we can benefit for the country and the people who will be betting more
    • @ Hmm (14/11/2016, 12:17) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
      Why are you talking about outsiders? Are there any locals who can and will be willing to put $20 Million up to invest? This is the small minded thinking of the local people. In order for the country to progress you need outside investment. This country will not progress if the people continue think like this. And the government needs to start telling the people this.
  • one eye (14/11/2016, 10:35) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    How come myrun dess down so?
  • unknown (14/11/2016, 11:24) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    i think this will be an awesome thing! happening for us
  • voice (14/11/2016, 12:30) Like (1) Dislike (9) Reply
    BVI have had their own identity. Why all of a sudden we must do what our neighbors are doing. Too much greed will sink this territory instead of helping it. When we were moving at our own pace we were doing well. As soon as we start watching other countries and trying to be like them we start falling apart. Do not watch the other man,s success it is not ours. That is why there is so much crime.
    • the rock (14/11/2016, 17:26) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
      why the bvi always got be behind in everything, as one person said yesterday, we don't move with time, our track will only be a training track sooooon, cause as of now, stt and stx don't need us anymore, just watch our boxing day race card and u will see it will only have bvi horses competing against each other, as stt will be going over to stx for they boxing day races, as it is all about business now for those 2 islands!
  • Piece a Cake (14/11/2016, 12:46) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    How difficult would it be for the Government to write a gambling exemption into law for Horse Racing and Casinos. Not hard at all if they really want to. They are the Government... Why do they think we left our brain and our mouth in our moma. We are that stupid.. They find ways to do other bad and bigger things that will benefit them..I guess there is nothing in this for them..
  • KB (14/11/2016, 13:08) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
    That's why tortola would never move forward some people there always looks at the small picture
  • king Kinta (14/11/2016, 16:38) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    What a hypocrite. Bring in people to enhance BETTING that we do once a month, but, when an established Company wants to buy Riteway and provide DAILY relief on food prices, YOU HON WALWYN block it. I guess you want us to eat the bets!
    • @king Kinta. (14/11/2016, 18:23) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
      Myron is just the microphone for the rest of them . Could never understood how can a government stop a business man from selling what he work hard to build to who he wants.. This is worst than Venezuela and Cuba .. That is how people become real rich by building and selling property and business...This place is Crazy.
    • YOU (16/11/2016, 04:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      idiot, this is not the same as that, how can this company that wants to improve horse race hurt the other local businesses u have to think before u text!
  • Thing to talk (14/11/2016, 20:22) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Bone Crusher told all of us on zbvi
    what will happen to that track and he was right.
  • Quiet Storm (15/11/2016, 14:19) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Typically, investors look for investing opportunities that meet a minimum "hurdle rate" for their investment. For example, an investment will not be made if there is no potential to return at least 20%. If an investor is willing to invest $20M on horse racing in the VI, the investor must see an oportuinity to realize a return on investment, as well as a quick pay back. The question is, what is the investor expecting and for how long?
  • make happen bvi (15/11/2016, 20:01) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
    Where r the names of Bob n Letty Hodge who put BVI horse racing on the map in the V.I. W
    ow


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