Horse-racing and sports betting operator Phumelela Gaming and Leisure has warned that if the shutdown of SA is extended past the beginning of May, major job losses in the racing industry are likely to occur.
South African racing’s closure has left Phumelela with no commodity to sell internationally and most football’s suspension has sunk its sports betting company. All its retail betting shops are closed, and while its digital wagering platforms remain open, digital revenue is “insufficient to to compensate for this large void.”
On Monday, the organisation said income from online betting was insufficient to cover revenue losses from the suspension of race meets and the closure of betting shops, adding around 40,000 jobs were dependent on the horse racing industry at SA.
Phumelela was already starting the “worst year since the business was first incorporated in 1997.“ It said: “If racing is not given authority to resume in early May, together with the opening of betting shops, it is likely that a rationalisation of the entire horse racing industry and associated value chain in SA will occur with consequent significant loss of jobs and reduced tax collections.”
Phumelela had described its year to end-July 2019 as the “worst in its history,” warning at the time its losses couldn’t be sustained after it reported a headline loss of almost R100m.