The Balearic government and the Insular Council of Majorca is to launch a new Lototrote horse racing betting system to raise funds to promote horse racing in Majorca and help horse breeders. Yesterday Insular Council President, Maria Antonia Munar, and the government's councillor for the interior, Josep Maria Costa, defended the “legitimacy” of the two local authorities running a lottery and other gambling initiatives, such as electronic bookies, in order to help the horse racing and breeding fraternity and associated activities. The Lototrote will be a unique version of the football pools, but instead of teams, players will mark their horses. A special consortium, which will be headed by the Balearic President Francesc Antich, will be set up to manage the new lottery. Munar said yesterday that she saw no reason for the island not to have a betting system which would benefit Majorca. She also said that by raising extra funding for horse racing and promoting Majorca's trot meets in Palma and Manacor, the campaign will help to attract trotting fans from overseas and by helping horse breeders, protect the countryside and in turn help the drive for quality tourism. Exactly how much money the Lototrote will raise, Munar is uncertain, but she has seen how trotting operates in France and the serious amounts of money it makes. The Lototrote could be up and running within four months and the government sees it as the first step towards creating Majorca's own betting system. The Lototrote will also enable people to bet on the horses without going to the race meets. Over the past few years millions of pesetas have been spent on improving the facilities for the public at the Son Pardo race track, owned by the Insular Council, in Palma and attendance figures are steadily rising with the idea of going to the races, and having a small wager, becoming increasingly popular.

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