South African racing operator Phumelela’s revenues were up 2% to R451.7m ($57.5m) while net profit was up 11% to R35.6m ($4.5m) for the six-month period ending Jan 31. Had it not been for the R39.7m brought in by its international operations, Phumelela would have ended up in the red. CEO Rian Du Plessis told MoneyWeb that without Phumelela’s diversification away from its core domestic racing product via deals with the UK Tote, Tabcorp and Sportech, “we would have been loss-making and we would have had to cut stakes … the more you cut that, the more it’s a disincentive for people to buy horses and keep them in training … so you have less horses, less races, less betting opportunities.”
Diversification of another sort is underway at the Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Des Moines, Iowa. Friday marks the first day of its 2012 racing season and, for the first time ever, Iowans will be able to utilize the marvels of advance deposit wagering (ADW). The system, run in partnership with Betfair’s US subsidiary TVG, will permit Iowans to place wagers via phone, computer or mobile device. The Iowa Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association hopes the ADW option will result in a $400k windfall for Prairie Meadows and another $400k added to purses.
Stung by a recent scathing New York Times article on its safety record, the New Mexico Racing Commission will consider implementing stricter standards developed by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. The Associated Press reports a public hearing in Albuquerque has been scheduled for May 2 to discuss the proposal.
Ladbrokes has signed on as title sponsors for the Lanark Silver Bell racenight at Hamilton Park Racecourse. The three-year deal follows Lads initial sponsorship of the fixture in 2011, and both parties apparently enjoyed the experience well enough to commit for a longer haul. This year’s event is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 24.
Betfred is smarting after paying out nearly £432k to a punter who successfully picked five winners at this year’s Grand National. Retired pipefitter (and grandfather of nine) Peter Duxbury spent £31 on a 50p each-way Lucky 31 and £2 on an each-way accumulator for a total investment of £35. The Nottingham Post reported that Duxbury’s previous biggest payday was a £34k payout back in Dec. 2002. Betfred founder Fred Done personally presented Duxbury with his check at Aintree on Saturday. The 73-year-old Duxbury was quick to deflect any praise for his prognostication skillz. “I got all the luck – you still need that.” And all this time we thought that Beatles song said all you needed was love. Thanks for nothing, Lennon…