Punters flock back after betting ban is lifted

24th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

24 October 2005, MADRID — Horse racing returned to Madrid for the first time for nine years after a ban on on-course betting was lifted.

24 October 2005

MADRID — Horse racing returned to Madrid for the first time for nine years after a ban on on-course betting was lifted.

The Zarzuela course re-opened after repairs, attracting a crowd of 5,000 punters to a six-race meeting.

One hundred horses competed for prize money totalling EUR 91,000 in the first of ten consecutive pre-lunch meetings planned so football fans will not miss Sunday afternoon games.

Prizes total EUR 638,000 will be on offer to punters, but for the Spanish betting industry the change in regulations will be a huge boost.

British and Irish thoroughbred breeders are expected to do well from the changes.

Eddie Galway, 44, from Galway, in Ireland, now Spain's top breeder, told the British daily The Times: "The introduction of nationwide lotteries based on the races in Madrid and elsewhere, plus on-course tote betting, will be a big boost along with the guaranteed television coverage."

Spain's 12,000 state lottery outlets will sell two games a week based on Spanish race meetings. Part of the profits will be ploughed back into the business.

Ten percent of the cost of rebuilding the Zarzuela course comes from the state lotteries and the rest from central government.

The Zarzuela's owners went bankrupt in 1996.

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Subject: Spanish news

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