The illegal online betting industry in India keeps getting bigger with every passing month as the Central Government has not been very open to reviewing the possibility of legalizing sports betting in India.
Horse Racing Industry Suffering
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the shutdown of all sports throughout the country. Horse racing has been significantly impacted as thousands of thoroughbreds throughout the country need to be fed and taken care off on a daily basis. Even before COVID-19 could hit, the horse racing industry in India was struggling to bring in revenue.
Legalizing horse racing bets across the country would provide a much needed boost to the industry. The state of Karnataka made an important decision with regards to horse racing earlier this month when it decided to approve online horse race betting.
Online Horse Race Betting In Karnataka
The Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) received necessary approval on 02 July to offer online betting on all of its horse races in line with the existing rules and regulations that govern betting in Karnataka. This in-principle approval is expected to revive the horse racing industry in the state and also bring in much needed revenue for the BTC.
The state government is yet to clarify what legislation and regulations will be changed in order to enable BTC to offer online horse racing bets. One can expect more clarity on these rules in the coming weeks.
The BTC has already gone ahead with its plans to develop a mobile application that will allow punters to place online and mobile bets on horse races. Those located in the state of Karnataka will be allowed to place bets on BTC races. Bettors outside Karnataka will not be able to place bets on these BTC races as BTC will have to use geo-location technology to limit bets to only those physically present in the state.
MP Karti Chidambaram took to Twitter to support the decision made by the state of Karnataka. The Congress MP is also pushing for Karnataka to approve online sports betting for multiple sports as it will bring in the state much needed revenue in the form of betting taxes. Chidambaram wants the funds generated from sports betting taxes to be pumped back into the development of education and sports in the state.
Expect Other States To Follow Karnataka
A number of other horse racing clubs in the country are going to take a leaf out of BTC’s book and campaign for their respective state governments to also approve online horse racing bets. The Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) has already taken action by petitioning the state government of Maharashtra to grant approval for online horse racing bets. RWITC operates horse racing tracks in Pune and Maharashtra.
Zavaray Poonawalla, chairman of RWITC is confident that they will get approval in Maharashtra as Karnataka has taken the first step to pave the way for other state governments to follow suit.
Race tracks in Punjab, Harayana and Tamil Nadu will also be eager to offer mobile and online betting on horse racing. However, these state governments will most likely wait it out and see how things play out in Karnataka and if the state is able to control and regulate these mobile and online bets properly before proceeding with their own online horse racing betting approval.
Multiple Sports Could Gain Approval
Should multiple states decide to approve and allow online horse race betting, it will propel other sports to push for approval for online betting. The Central Government has so far resisted the push to legalize online gambling and betting as they consider it a social evil. The government will most likely need to give it a second look as they see individual states lift the ban on sports betting one sport at a time.