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Legalise 'parimutuel wagering' or risk losing support of USVI horse owners- Lesmore Smith

- said horse racing is an expensive venture & the prizes in the USVI are more attractive
President of the Virgin Islands Horse Owners Association, Mr Lesmore Smith (inset) has said there is an urgent need to allow pari-mutuel wagering or betting at local horse races to generate much needed revenue. Photo: VINO/File
The Virgin Islands Horse Owners’ Association is urging the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government to urgently bring legislation to the House of Assembly (HoA) to legalise betting at horse races locally or risk losing the sport to sister territory United States Virgin Islands (USVI). Photo: VINO/File
The Virgin Islands Horse Owners’ Association is urging the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government to urgently bring legislation to the House of Assembly (HoA) to legalise betting at horse races locally or risk losing the sport to sister territory United States Virgin Islands (USVI). Photo: VINO/File
Horse racing is one of the most popular sports and traditions in the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
Horse racing is one of the most popular sports and traditions in the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The Virgin Islands Horse Owners’ Association is urging the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government to urgently bring legislation to the House of Assembly (HoA) to legalise betting at horse races locally or risk losing the sport to sister territory United States Virgin Islands (USVI).

President of the local horse owner’s association Mr Lesmore Smith, who has been collaborating with other die-hard horse racing fans to plug thousands of dollars into the sport to keep it alive in the Virgin Islands (VI), has said there is an urgent need to allow pari-mutuel wagering or betting at local horse races to generate much needed revenue.

An expensive venture

During a video interview with Cathy O. Richards on JTV, Smith insisted, “We need to bring our game up to the next level so we could be sure we that we have the transfer back and forth, among each other, and make sure we keep the sport alive in the Virgin Islands.”

Mr Smith was at the time relating plans for the sport after the Boxing Day races on December 26, 2019, were interrupted by heavy rains after just two races.

“I am hoping that our government pushes the pari-mutuel because, Cathy, this is an expensive venture for me to keep that sport alive and I don’t think that with all honesty one year after the destruction, one year bringing it back and keeping it alive, they can’t ask me for more.”

He further said, “So I am saying to my good government, push, I have been asking for the pari-mutuel for gaming bill to be passed years ago, I am hoping that they can get it through and give us a little more cushion so we can make this sport better in the BVI.”

Much needed revenue to be made

According to Mr Smith, the USVI has a promoter for the sport of horse racing- the legislation for gaming, “We don’t. So when we go on their end of the field we find that the purses are going to be more exciting and then eventually they will say we ain't coming up there because the purse is better over here [in the USVI].”

Clearing the air on his position about betting generally, Mr Smith said: “I am not saying that I am opening the BVI for a gambling situation, but also that government makes good revenue from the whole thing.”

The administrator and horse owner is convinced the gaming act will also allow a percentage of everything that is made to go to the government's coffers.

“We have NHI (National Health Insurance) that is crying four million in the red now. So we are looking at how can we bring revenue in among our people to make things happen for ourselves," Mr Smith reasoned.

12 Responses to “Legalise 'parimutuel wagering' or risk losing support of USVI horse owners- Lesmore Smith”

  • musa (30/12/2019, 16:56) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Gambling weed 600cc night life cock fight drag race. ,this our breaking news for 2020 good luck leaders.
  • lol (30/12/2019, 17:10) Like (18) Dislike (4) Reply
    The BVI is behind on everything except for giving out belonger status
    • So true (31/12/2019, 11:18) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
      And to receipients who is of little or no benefit to the VI, but a drain on the treasury.
  • foxy (30/12/2019, 18:56) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ms p done say it’s happening as her former weak leader could not do it so she went with Ronnie
  • Believe it or Not (30/12/2019, 22:30) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    Lesmore chatting piss. The USVI only up here because their track is closed. As soon as they get back their track back it is good bye for us.They had parimutuel and still couldn't run any of their tracks. Let us face the facts we don't have the numbers to make it profitable. Where is the initial funding coming from? Owning a horse or a boat is almost the same if you can't afford the maintenance leave it alone.
  • Just Sayin (30/12/2019, 23:23) Like (18) Dislike (2) Reply
    As a person who grew up in the BVI and I now come home to visit I’m shock to see how far behind we still are. We can’t continue to use the hurricane as an excuse. We need to start to advance. It’s hard for us persons who went to school to come back because it almost feel like you will be going backwards.
  • Same here, States (31/12/2019, 08:46) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    @Just sayin, i have to agree with you. If I collect a dollar for each time they use the hurricane as an excuse, I would be rich. When I go home for a visit, I am bored out of my mind. My Country is so far behind in advancement. I have to get a calling card to call out because if I use my cell phone the roaming charges is extremely high. I spent 5 days at home and when I got back to the US, my phone bill was almost $900.00.
    • lesson (31/12/2019, 11:15) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      Next time get a local subsrciption and an inexpensive mobile telephone ,I keep them with me in the States and carrybthem when travelling...I have Digicel and Flow so when one service is acting up i use the other and i top up on line with a credit card. I also have at&t which I use at locations where I get signals from the USVI .
      • give thanks (31/12/2019, 12:09) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
        Let us thank julian frazer for giving us cheaper affordable cellphone rates
        • @ give thanks (31/12/2019, 13:20) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
          but his political career is over as he is never going to be the premier
      • Same here,States (31/12/2019, 12:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        @lesson, thanks,good looking out. Now I know. When I saw that almost $900.00 phone bill from T-Mobile I was in shock. I had to pay it off T-Mobile was nice enough to let me pay the bill off in installments.
        • lesson (01/01/2020, 13:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          I am there several times yearly and this has worked beautifully,.
          Having a personal local number at your convenience is ideal and affordable.


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