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Argentina – Gubernatorial candidate seeks to revive flagging horse racing industry

By - 19 September 2019

Axel Kicillof, gubernatorial candidate for Buenos Aires has come out in support of the horse racing industry. His comments could possibly mean an end to the government plans to end subsidies to racetracks in 2021.

Kicillof, told trade union members from the sector that the industry would be part of the governments’ “production policies” and that he was on a fact finding mission to find out more about the problems the industry faces.
Kicillof also promised public policies designed to provide a boost to the ailing horse racing industry and also criticised the attempt made by the current governor to modify laws regulating the sector. The candidate said that the governor’s motives behind changes to laws over the industry were not related to fighting gambling addiction or control over the sector but were instead related to property business interests.

Talking to industry news portal Infoturf the candidate said: “There were many interest groups with a dark agenda that have attacked the horse racing industry that have been reported by other legislators. Our positions are very clear, I want to have more material to see how we can include them, but without question, if we win the election, it will be part of the provincial politics,” he said.

In February 2017, Governor of the province of Buenos Aires María Eugenia Vidal announced that she would cut subsidies to horse racing tracks completely. For more than ten years, the province of Buenos Aires has subsidised the activity of racetracks and subsidised different trade associations.

In April 2018 the government put forward legislative changes to Law 13,253 that earmarks the subsidy to the horse racing industry and set out a proposal for a new horse racing law. The law proposed that government funds will be earmarked for other government projects and that the activity should be able to generate sufficient funds on its own by providing racing content from local track for simulcast horse-wagering abroad as well as other measures. There are five racetracks in the Province, which all receive annual subsidies. The government planned to eventually reduce subsidies to zero.
Vidal lost the primary race by almost 17-percent margin in August to leftist candidate Kicillof who previously served as minister of the economy under Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

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