INTERVIEW OF OMAR SKALLI, CEO OF SOREC
When and how was the SOREC created?
Horse betting and Horse racing have existed under many different organizations in Morocco since the 1920s. However, by 2003, the Moroccan government created SOREC (Société Royale d’Encouragement du Cheval) and merged in it both activities, employees as well as some existing companies and associations.
In 2011, the government added to SOREC a “horse breeding” activity back from an already existing division in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Today, SOREC is a government-owned company placed under the authority of the Ministry of Agriculture.
By law, SOREC is the only horse betting operator in Morocco under the Tote scheme (Pari Mutuel).
SOREC has a total betting turnover of circa 700 million Euros, and employs 600 people in about 100 sites (state studs, betting agencies, 5 racecourses, breeding research centers…).
SOREC is the national breeding and racing authority. SOREC self-finances the entire horse sector through revenues from betting.
Its strategy is to diversify and develop the modern uses of horses, preserve national breeds, and improve racing quality.
What is the most popular bet for customers of the SOREC?
SOREC offers its customers several products: Simple, Jumelé, Trio, Tiercé, Quarté and Quinté.
Quinté is the best seller. It has the best betting pool and de facto generates the highest gains. In addition to the traditional Quinté bet, this product includes bonus 3 and bonus 4 options at no additional cost.
The price for this bet is 12 DHs (approx 1 €).
What is the most exciting development at the SOREC at the moment?
I believe that this last year has proved to all of us that an organization must show agility and adaptability at all levels. This year, SOREC has taken the gamble of accelerating its digital transformation.
One of our most exciting achievements at the moment is the launch of our online betting platform.
What’s your ambition for the SOREC?
We work every day to promote the quality of the Moroccan horse industry. We are focusing on national breeds such as Barb and Arab-Barb breeds, national horse races and equestrian tourism. Our ambition is also to promote our breeds internationally.
What’s the greatest challenge for the SOREC at the moment?
2020 was an unprecedented year on both business and human levels. Many of us had to face the closing of the point of sales and the suspension of horse racing for almost three months. At SOREC, we decided to face this pandemic period by showing resilience, solidarity, and agility.
I believe that our challenge today is not only to ensure business continuity, but also to bring our support to each professional in the equine industry – especially to those who need it the most.
This new decade will make the difference. I am aiming at strengthening our ambitious vision in developing the national horse sector through innovative projects. Our mission has always been, and still is, to serve all our stakeholders with the best of our skills and know-how.
To do so, we need to stabilize our betting turnover as well as our leading position in the gaming sector (compared to lottery and sports); this needs sustained marketing efforts to attract new customers and steadily rejuvenate our customer base.
What is the added value of WoTA for the SOREC?
As a member of WoTA, SOREC takes part in the various round tables and working groups that WoTA organizes. We are always amazed by the quality of these events and we surely benefit from sharing other members’ experiences.
More importantly, SOREC is very happy to benefit from such a powerful international peer network through WoTA.
What is your role inside WoTA?
I believe that SOREC is an active member of the association. We are always very happy to attend and contribute to the events. As an example, we took part last February 25th in a working group around communication at WoTA.
In addition to that, we are today the only African horse racing member of this association. As such, I would like very much to have a larger number of African betting operators to join the association. And I am fully willing to help build a bridge between WoTA and other African countries.
When and how did you become Head of SOREC?
I joined SOREC in 2009 as General Manager. In addition to my assignments at SOREC, I am also President of the World Organization of Barb Breed (OMCB) and Vice-President of the European and Mediterranean Horseracing Federation (EMHF).
What do you do when you are not being the Head of SOREC?
With some friends, we recently took over a small soccer club in the region of Casablanca “Club Tihad Azemmour”. This adventure is particularly close to my heart in a personal capacity because I am convinced that sport conveys values that are essential to the education of our youth, their empowerment, and their socio-economic inclusion.
What’s the best sporting event you have ever attended or enjoyed?
In 2017, I had the privilege of attending Royal Ascot in London. I was very excited to experience this unmissable English event. Ascot is a very famous racecourse, and it is the Queen’s favorite event!