India’s business sector has been devastated by COVID-19. Some businesses have done better than others while some have failed miserably. The horse racing industry throughout the country has been one of the worse affected. Racing clubs throughout the country have appealed to the government for financial help to pay their jockeys and to take care of the horses.

Horse racing in India has resumed on Bangalore Turf Club after 6 months hiatus.
Horse racing in India has resumed on Bangalore Turf Club after 6 months hiatus.

Mysore Race Clubs Launches Online Betting

The Mysore Race Club (MRC) was one of the clubs that has been devastated by the COVID-19 shutdown which effectively cancelled most of the horse racing season in India. MRC had appealed for online horse race betting to be approved by the Karnataka government as they were not allowed to accept visitors to the racetrack to bet.

The MRC made it clear that it was struggling financially and needed online betting approval in order to bring in some mode of revenue. Well the MRC got the approval required and launched two online horse race betting portals for punters to bet on their favorite horses. The two online betting portals can be found at www.turfwinners.com and www.betmysore.com.

Horse racing bettors who want to wager on races at the MRC will not have a big window to do so. This is because the weather conditions towards the end of the year make it difficult to hold races due to the wet tracks. MRC will have winter racing season that spans just 6 days. The first two days have already finished as the races took place on Nov 11 and 18. The final horse race in November is set for the 25th.

The remaining 3 horse racing days are set for December 2, 9 and 16. How much revenue the MRC will be able to make during this shortened season in 2020 remains to be seen. The MRC ended up paying 52 lakh rupees in taxes during 2019. The MRC has reported that due to the lockdown in 2020, the club has reported losses of over 3.5 crore rupees.

Small Horse Owners In India Going Bust

While racing clubs struggle to find ways to make up for the heavy losses suffered in 2020, many small horse owners across the country have gone bust. The lack of racing income and the fact that they have had to pay out monthly fees to the racing clubs to look after their horses have drained them financially.

The Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) charges 35,000 rupees a month to look after each horse. Many of these small horse owners have been unable to pay the monthly maintenance fees for their horses. Some of these horse owners have racked up big bills with racing clubs across the country and have received warnings to pay up their dues or their horses will be auctioned.

A few small horse owners have removed their horses from the race clubs and have started selling horse rides on their race horses at different beaches.  Some small horse owners are frustrated with the stance of the racing clubs and want them to be more lenient by giving them a bigger time frame to pay back their debts. However, there are a few horse owners who understand the plight of the racing clubs.

The BTC generated more than 2,000 crore rupees in 2017 when the GST rate was only 8 percent. Once the GST rate was pumped up to 28 percent, the BTC saw its revenues plummet to just 700 crore rupees. Given the financial decline in 2018 and 2019 for most racing clubs in India and the COVID-19 hit in 2020, the horse racing industry in India is struggling to survive.

Small business owners who cannot manage their horses anymore can look at organizations that accept retired racehorses which include the mounted police force and the Indian army.

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