Visitors to the “Foreigner lounge” on the fourth floor of the Luckyville grandstand at Seoul Race Park are provided with an English language race card. Though very basic in the information it provides, it is invaluable for first-time racegoers or for those who cannot read Korean and therefore find it difficult to navigate the regular racecards.
For many years, on a Saturday, when two or three races are simulcasted from Jeju Island, the cards for these races have been included in the English race card. On a Sunday, however, that has not been the case for the races simulcasted from Busan. This has led to Gyongmaman watching (with some amusement, he is ashamed to admit) scores of first time visitors betting on what they think is the next race at Seoul but is in fact the next race from Busan. All this changed this past weekend though as the entire Busan card was attached to the usual Seoul listings.
We touched a couple of weeks ago on the prospect of an English language betting machine being introduced. Gyongmaman – always a terrible groveller when faced with officialdom, especially if they’re wearing a KRA badge – gave it his blessing and accordingly the English-speaking machine, made its debut on November 7, taking pride of place in the middle of the lounge. It lasted a full four races before malfunctioning and being taken away on a trolley. It hasn’t been seen since.
All mockery aside, the KRA is to be commended on their efforts. The vast majority of regulars in the Foreigner lounge are ethnic Koreans who have passports from other countries and therefore can read Korean. That the KRA provides an English and Japanese service and provides reserved seating for overseas visitors – a demographic that generally bets tiny amounts – all for free, is much to its credit.
Also on English affairs, recently the KRA revamped its website. It is pretty sexy. However, one by-product of this was that it became impossible to access the English language section of the site from the homepage. While this is a sorry state of affairs, Korearacing understands that a brand new English language homepage is in the works and is scheduled to be launched in the New Year. This site will indeed supposedly have what everyone has been waiting for: English langauge racecards and results.
Finally on “Internationalization” matters, Paulick reported that the KRA was in Florida last week – looking at property by all accounts.