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A Tale Of Two Countries

Published: January 10, 2012 12:58 pm ET

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It has been reported that the France's Pari-Mutuel Urbain saw increases in revenue across all sectors of its business in 2011. It broke the €10 billion mark in turnover, which is a record for the organization. The same cannot be said for the current state of the Italian horse racing industry.

An article on explains that 2011 was the 14th consecutive year of growth for the betting company. The €10.23bn in turnover works out to be a 7.3-per-cent increase year over year. The company's horseracing activity rose by 4.5 per cent to €9.76bn.

"The strategy we put in place has worked and we've achieved the goals we set for 2011 --- to grow the volume of racing betting and to increase our share in the sports and poker markets," PMU Director General Philippe Germond was quoted as saying.

In November of 2011, France Galop proposed a five-per-cent increase in prize-money across the board for 2012.

In Italy, The Guardian is reporting a much more grim outlook. One of the publication's articles states that protests are planned for this Thursday (January 12) in an effort to secure funding for the country's racing model, which at least one respected racing and wagering figure has described as 'broken' and 'effectively bankrupt.'

"The betting model, through which money comes back to racing, is broken, and it is effectively bankrupt," Dr. Carlo Zuccoli, an Italian journalist and former consultant to the European Pari-Mutuel Association, has been quoted as saying.

"As it stands, every race that is run is being run at a loss. Nobody in Italy has any money at the moment and the new minister has already made it clear that there will be nothing more for the sport. The only way forward is to admit that we need a new structure for funding racing and to start again with a clean slate. If we try to carry on as things are, racecourses will close and racing will not survive in Italy."

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