TOKYO, April 9, 2013 – The City of Obihiro and Rakuten, Inc. announced today that Rakuten Keiba, operated by Rakuten’s wholly-owned subsidiary Keiba Mall, Inc. has reached an agreement with the City of Obihiro to make donations through the city’s Ban’ei Promotion Fund to spur regional development aimed at the growth of the city’s horse-drawn sled races held at Ban’ei Tokachi.
Specifically, part of the proceeds from the sale of betting tickets for Ban’ei Tokachi sold at Rakuten Keiba will be used to fund a reserve that will then be donated to Obihiro City’s Ban’ei Promotion Fund. This marks the first time that a corporation has made a donation to the Ban’ei Promotion Fund through such a reserve fund.
In addition, Rakuten Keiba plans on sponsoring events held at the Obihiro Horse Racetrack, such as fireworks displays and JRA jockey day, as well as providing gifts of carrots and grass feed rolls to Obihiro Horse Racetrack’s stables. In addition, patrons that purchase betting tickets for Ban’ei Tokachi at Rakuten Keiba on certain dates will receive Rakuten Super Points based on the amount of the betting ticket they purchased and be eligible to be invited to attend events taking place at Obihiro Horse Racetrack on the same day.
Obihiro City is working to make its Ban’ei Keiba, which is the world’s only horse-drawn sled races and also a registered Hokkaido Heritage, both a regional leisure spot and tourist attraction. Meanwhile, Rakuten concluded a comprehensive collaboration agreement with the Prefecture of Hokkaido in July 2009 and established a special webpage called “Machiraku Hokkaido” on its Internet shopping mall Rakuten Ichiba where staff from Obihiro City author a blog in order to offer advice on seasonal tourism and gourmet opportunities. Advertisements for horseracing in Hokkaido also appear on this page.
Through this agreement both parties will seek to drive greater customer traffic to Ban’ei Tokachi in order to revitalize Obihiro City as well as increase the visibility of Rakuten Keiba and use of its services.