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"Thank goodness Racing has not reached this point in Australia.
As long as there are legal bookmakers it never will." Editor

The minimum payout of RM6 for a win and RM5 for a place will be history once the Dividend Guarantee Scheme is implemented in the three turf clubs in Malaysia.

Racegoers will not end up in a no-win situation when they bet on the place tote as they will collect at least a minimum profit of RM1 for every outlay of RM5 on the totalisator.

The Dividend Guarantee Scheme was proposed by the innovative Selangor Turf Club (SLTC) under the leadership of Tunku Shahabuddin and deputy Richard Cham, which has been accepted by Pan Malaysian Pools.

The minimum payout for a win is RM6, which means punters gain only a RM1 profit for every RM5 outlay. But once the new minimum payouts are implemented, a punter betting on the win tote will make a profit of RM2 and RM1 for a place bet.

The Dividend Guarantee Scheme, which is the brainchild of the SLTC, would check tote thumping and the manipulation of the tote.

The scheme will also give a reasonable return to punters instead of them ending up in a "no-win-no-lose" situation.

Complaints by racegoers that a very high percentage of place-getters or even winners paying-out the minimum dividend of RM5 and RM6 respectively have been going on for years without anything being done.

In fact, the new minimum payout will be welcomed by all in the racing industry and it will encourage racegoers to bet on the totalisator instead of punting with bookmakers which would in turn see increase in the turnover of the clubs.

A good example was the Singapore Turf Club (SNTC), which recorded a new high of over $82 million for a four-day meeting in their February/March meeting.

According to the SNTC, the increase in the turnover was due to the club's efforts in combating illegal bookmaking through the introduction of off-course betting services and facilities and the reduction in betting tax.

Several punters said that if the new minimum payout is implemented it will be more worthwhile to punt legally because of the lower returns offered by the illegal bookmakers.

Bookies have recently resorted to limiting the payouts, especially on the fancied runners, to between RM9 and RM12 for a win and RM6 for a place. At times, they even paid RM6 for a win on hot favourites.

The other good news for racegoers in the future will be the reduction of betting taxes, which will mean a higher return for punters as with lower taxes, dividend payouts will be much higher than what you get now.

The SLTC are progressing in the right direction to meet the challenges of the new millennium with several new programmes being implemented.

The introduction of the Trainers' Performance Bonus Scheme is to encourage higher professionalism in horse training and establish the club as a premier racing centre.

The Top Trainer Incentive Award for local based trainers was implemented so that trainers would strive for training excellence.

The increase in prize money for non-feature races to match Singapore Stakes on a ringgit to Singapore dollar basis is to make racing more competitive.

In a move to deter manipulations and doping of horses, the SLTC have secured the services of a senior expatriate veterinary surgeon.

With his expertise, strict pre-race and post-race blood and urine collection procedures have been implemented.

Weighing of horses prior to racing has been introduced to provide information to the racing public on the state and fitness of the horses.

More incentives for owners, trainers, jockeys and members of the club have been discussed and will be implemented in the near future.

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