Wild horses

Following Stanley Leisure’s failure to acquire the right to take bets on the Euro 2004 Championships in Portugal, the Minister of Agriculture is planning to push ahead with the legalisation of horse racing on the back of the successful introduction of the EuroMillions lottery. Portugal, alongside Luxembourg, is the only European country not to have racing. It is believed that initially a ‘totoloto’ type bet is to be introduced based on horse racing abroad until a racetrack and the appropriate infrastructure can be put in place. Similar to the Gambling Bill about to be passed in Britain, the intention is to recoup lost revenue currently diverted via the internet and illegal bookmaking. The first official horse race in Portugal took place in 1868 in Évora and today, between 700 and 800 stables exist, employing 3,200 people. Some racing takes place in Spain, but has so far failed to gain international recognition.