The Korea Racing Authority (KRA) this week announced that Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, will be the location of Korea’s fourth racecourse.
A number of regions had bid to host the track which will join Seoul and Busan in hosting thoroughbred racing (with Jeju remaining the sole host of Pony racing) but Yeongcheon got the Authority’s nod. In addition to the racecourse, Yeongcheon will also play host to a training centre and “leisure town”.
Yeongcheon is a small city with a population of just over 100,000. It is approximately 350 kilometres south-east of Seoul but only 80 from Busan and is on the the main “Gyeongbu” Expressway that links the peninsula’s two main cities.
With the gambling regulator, the National Gaming Control Commission, shutting down internet and telephone betting last year and also decreeing that a minimimum of 50% of all betting handle must be taken on-track threatening the off-track betting plazas, a new racecourse has become imperative for the KRA. Nevertheless, eyebrows will be raised at the decision to locate the new site in such a rural area with no obvious supply of punters nearby.
Construction at the new site will begin almost immediately with the first races expected to be run in 2014.