The racecourse is suffering an “unfair” distribution of income for races, says the Town Hall
Mijas Town Hall has demanded this week that the Ministry for Taxes and Public Affairs in Madrid tackles what it describes as the “economic discrimination” against the municipality’s racecourse, the ‘Hipódromo Costa del Sol.’
Local officials claim that the ‘Hipódromo’ is routinely receiving only half of what it is owed per race and that this puts the attraction’s future in jeopardy.
The State Lottery and Betting Agency (LAE) is responsible for managing the profits generated through betting and the television rights in Spain. However, it has emerged that the Agency delegates the responsibility for distributing what is then owed to all the individual racecourses around the country to the Madrid-based La Zarzuela racecourse.
The national regulations state that each course will receive 80,000 euros per race. But Mario Bravo, the Mijas Councillor for Taxes, Foreign residents and the Racecourse, tells SUR in English that the full amounts are not reaching the Hipódromo Costa del Sol.
He says: “Right now, the government gives 80,000 euros per race to La Zarzuela in Madrid to then allocate out accordingly. One would think that the money should be distributed equally to each course, but this is not the case. They get 80,000 for each race, but they send only 40,000 to Mijas.
“Nobody has given us a clear explanation as to where the remaining 40,000 euros ends up.
“We want the full 80,000 euros for each race to arrive in Mijas. We don’t want more, but we can’t accept less. This has been the situation since the beginning and that’s why we are fed up!”
“This has nothing to do with politics, it is simply about the money.”
Bravo is now urging Cristóbal Moreno, the Minister for Tax and Public Affairs, to intervene and either instruct La Zarzuela to pay what is owed per race, or have the LAE pay the monies directly.
Mario Bravo insists that if the situation continues as it is, the future of the Costa del Sol’s only racecourse is at risk.
This, he asserts, would mean the loss of an important money-generating tourist attraction and the loss of a wealth and job-creating local entity.
“Not only [would its closure affect] the 30 people who work there directly, but many more who work for the ‘hipódromo’ indirectly, including, for example, those who take care of the horses, work in the restaurants, and all the various suppliers.”
In addition, the Town Hall has highlighted another issue to the minister, which it says further threatens the racecourse’s viability. “La Zarzuela racecourse also decides the dates of all of Spain’s horse races across the four racecourses around the country and this isn’t fair either,” says Bravo.
According to the council, the Madrid facility has scheduled 40 races for itself next year and only tabled 15 for the Hipódromo Costa del Sol. “This is important, but less so than the issue of the money,” concludes Bravo.