Botswana: The Ministry of Trade and Industry, through Gambling Authority (GA), is working on licensing and commercialising the horse racing sport.
This was said by the Acting Minister of Trade and Industry, Beauty Manake, during the 2022 Champions Cup Horse Race in Motokwe over the weekend. She added that the Gambling Act is responsible for regulating and promoting responsible gaming effectively, thus making the sport clean and sustainable.
Her introductory statement highlighted that Botswana horse semen is one of the most expensive animal products and wealthy investors are willing to pay high prices for proven semen, hoping that the resulting foal provides a large return on investment.
She added that semen could be exported, and the value chain derived from the breeding can lead to delivering an export-led economy. “This is an initiative that was first introduced by the President of Botswana in an effort to increase cattle herd, improving pedigree bulls, cattle genetics and development of value chains,” Manake added.
The Minister also urged Botswana Horse Racing Association to approach Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency and Local Enterprise Authority so that they build world-class Motokwe Horse Racing Stadium.
She added that as Government, they would also assess how they are going to improve Horse Racing Industry and the value chain. Manake highlighted that the presence of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Lands and Water Affairs, Agriculture, and Local Government at this event testifies to the commitment towards the Realignment of Government Machinery for economic development and prosperity for all.
The Acting Minister was pleased to see Batswana coming together to explore economic gaming activities such as horse racing.
“These annual horse racing events demonstrate the love and commitment that organisers, horse owners and jockeys have for the sport”, Manake added.
She encouraged regional and international participation as they put Botswana in an excellent position to attract foreign revenue for economic growth.
Furthermore, it aligns aspiration of making Botswana a Meeting, Incentive, Conference, and Exhibition (MICE) tourism country.
She also encouraged horse owners and clubs to subscribe to the Botswana Horse Racing Association and invest in different value chains.
When speaking at the event, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of GA, Mr Emolemo Peter Kesitilwe, said his organisation intends to engage all concerned stakeholders for awareness on how the licensing activity will be rolled out.
He assured them that the organisers of the Motokwe Horse Racing Event will be invited to the engagements so that they can be able to run the event in compliance with the requirements of the Gambling Act. He reiterated that GA will roll out the licensing of horse racing in the year 2023/24.
Kesitilwe also had a chance to share with the public that horse racing is regulated under the Gambling Act 2012, and the Authority has previously never issued any horseracing activities.
The Acting CEO shared the economic opportunities with Batswana; he mentioned that when such events are held, the jockeys, horse owners and the business community stand to benefit from horseracing events.
“It is also essential to note that we will be issuing betting licences next year, and through licensed entities, you should be able to diversify entertainment provided here by allowing attendees to bet on the contesting horses over licensed platforms,” he added.
On his part, the Botswana Horse Racing Association President and also the Director of TT Horse Racing Event Mr Timon Kelebeng appreciated the presence of the Acting Minister of Trade and industry.
He said horse racing could contribute a lot to the country’s economy, as the whole purpose of starting the event was to diversify the economy of the village and to develop horse racing in Botswana. He called upon the business communities and investors to support this course as it sustains the livelihood of many youths involved with the sport.
On another note, it did not come as a surprise to the proud followers and supporters as a horse called Beke le Beke won the Motokwe Horse Race beating the likes of the other named Call Me Tonight which is the current Khawa Dune Challenge Horse Race champion.