The Hyderabad Race Club (HRC) has had its fair share of challenges in recent years. In July 2017, the state government imposed a 27 percent goods and service tax (GST) that significantly impacted the club’s revenue for the last three years. The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt the club an even bigger blow as all races have been suspended.
Permit Online Horse Race Betting
The HRC is not petitioning the Telangana Government to not only grant it permission to resume horse racing in the midst of the state’s battle to curb the corona virus pandemic but to also allow them to offer online horse race bets.
The monsoon season for horse racing is supposed to be underway but no races are taking place due to the lockdown. Since the club already suffered from not staging their summer season, HRC is pushing hard to be able to stage races in empty stadiums but offer online betting so that revenue continues to come in for the club.
When things were normal, as many as 8,000 punters would place their bets on horse races at the Malakpet race course in Hyderabad. HRC is losing out on this revenue and needs approval for online betting if the club is going to survive. HRC’s push for legalized online betting comes in the midst of other top racing clubs like the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) requesting the Karnataka state government to legalize online horse race betting.
HRC Revenues Keep Dropping
This will give you an idea of how much HRC has suffered financially in the last three years. HRC had a turnover of over 1,275 crore rupees prior to the GST implementation. The state government initially imposed a 7 percent GST but then changed their minds and imposed a 27 percent GST that brought down the club’s revenue to just 460 crore rupees.
The 60 percent plus drop in revenue has made things difficult for the club who are now looking for new ways to bring in revenue. The most lucrative way is to expand their offline betting activities and allow punters in the state access to online bets. HRC executives state that they have plans to develop a mobile horse betting app that will allow their punters to watch the races live or in replay mode. They will also have provision to place bets on their favorite horses and jockeys.
HRC is currently waiting on the approval of the state government before proceeding with the mobile app development. The HRC remains positive that online horse race betting will gain momentum across the country as more prominent racing clubs campaign for online horse race betting.
Telangana Government Responds
The Telangana government has responded to the push for online horse race betting approval. A representative said that the government was seriously looking into the pros and cons of allowing online horse race betting. The government is studying legal horse race betting markets overseas as well as in other Indian states to see how Telangana can take those best practices and then implement it.
The plan is to help the horse racing industry in the state to recover as soon as possible and recoup the massive loss of money that they have suffered in recent months. The fact that the government is looking into restarting horse racing in the state and the possibility of offering online legalize bets should boost the spirits of HRC as well as other horse racing clubs throughout India.
Scottish Jockey David Allan Not Convinced
David Allan who is one of the most popular jockeys in India is not very convinced though. The Scott has won three Indian Derbies in 2011, 2016 and 2017 and has a big fan following in India.
He said he wasn’t sure he would come back to India to race because he feels like the horse racing industry is in decline because it is not getting enough support from the Indian government.