Champ De Mars – Bookmakers On Strike



The bookmakers operating in Champ de Mars are angry against the Mauritius Turf Club (MTC) by refusing to offer bets on races on the opening day, Thursday, March 24. So this is an unusual scene for punters who attended CDM on Thursday, while many of them were already thinking to place bets. The last time such a situation occurred was on the first day of the 1998 season.

Speaking at a press conference, Bijay Coomar Greedharry, spokesman of disgruntled bookies, said the purpose of this press conference was to inform the public of the difficulties that the majority of bookmakers have had with MTC in recent days.

He said that the bookmakers, through their legal adviser, Mr. Preetam Chuttoo, had several meetings with the General Manager of MTC, Benoît Halbwachs, and the Financial Manager of the club, namely Jerome Tuck Man Sing, but no agreement was found.



Rs 10 million
He also explained that if the MTC demanded, at first negotiation, an increase which, according to him, would cost all 22 disgruntled bookies a sum of Rs 10 million, that they themselves do not want to pay more Rs 6 millon. He laments as the MTC did not comply with their request to consider that there will be one more bookmaker in operation this year and that its charges were not taken into account because during the negotiations, the figures provided were based on 28 bookmakers. According to Bijay Coomar Greedharry, royalties of this 29th bookmaker would have allowed MTC to reach the figure of Rs 10 million that he hoped garner.

For his part, Mr. Preetam Chuttoo dwelt on the fact that there was no agreement and the bookmakers were simply invited to come to sign their contracts in order to operate. While acknowledging that the General Manager Benoît Halbwachs has been flexible thereafter, he said the Financial Manager Jerome Tuck Sing Man was more rigid.

The legal process stopped
Moreover, the legal advisor of the bookmakers has told the press that they do not want to go ahead with the case lodged in court last Wednesday against one of the recommendations of the Financial Intelligence Unit, dated September 2014, which required them to “carry out CDD (Customer Due Diligence)” on bettors. This measure, if applied according to the recommendations of the report of the FIU, only cover those focusing a sum of Rs 10,000 or more – or the equivalent in foreign currency. The decision not to pursue this legal approach, Me Preetam Chuttoo explained by the fact that he was contacted by William Ollivry, Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit, who asked the bookies to just drop in to explain how difficult it would be to “carry out customer due diligence.”

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