Politics rein in KRA progress

Korea’s horse racing industry, considered the sleeping giant of Asia, has not been immune from the turmoil sweeping through the country’s political and business classes, with modernization plans in the balance after the Korean Racing Authority chairman was removed from office. It’s just the latest setback for the sport, which has been beset by political obstacles. Exorbitant taxes, uncompetitive take out rates, a unionized labor force at its training centers and vociferous anti-gambling lobbyists determined to shut down off-track betting centers are all perennial problems for the government-controlled Korean Racing Authority. One insider put it this way, “The best thing about the KRA is that it is government controlled, and the worst thing about it? That it is government controlled.” Yet in the last 12 months nobody could have predicted the fallout that can come from being so inextricably linked to the fortunes of government. When Park Geun-hye was named Korean President in...

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