Authorities approach government in bid to avert prize-money cuts
French racing's lavish prize-money structure could be in danger of a €25 million cut unless authorities can persuade the incoming political regime in Paris that the sport is in need of a new financial deal.
France Galop president Edouard Rothschild said of the forthcoming talks with the new government of Emmanuel Macron: "After the second round of legislative elections we now have a government in place, with negotiators ready to work towards a new agreement between racing and the state, and the development for the first time of a gambling policy."
France Galop reported a deficit of €38m in 2016, an accumulated result of sluggish betting revenues over the last six years as the French economy struggled to recover.
On Monday France Galop's administrative council approved a number of reports on economies prepared inside the organisation, as well as external work done across the PMU and the trotting authorities.
Among the last-ditch solutions tabled is a €25m cut to the annual basket of prize-money – which also includes premiums, travel allowances and contributions to refunding VAT payments – a sum which currently stands at €282m a year.
One of the most urgent matters for discussion with the new government will be the status of a pilot scheme for live sports betting, which was launched by the lottery operator FDJ in April but quickly suspended in the wake of protests from the racing industry.