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Online betting, prepaid cards the only way out?

By: S S Shreekumar   April 8 , 2020

COVID 19 will surely go away sooner than later. But the possibility of a second wave looms large. Hence the concept of Social Distancing will be the new norm in society. Be it at theatres, shopping malls, markets, sports events et. al. people will be wary of crowding around, with or without masks.

Yet, social distancing can be adopted in many places. But how will you ever adopt Social Distancing at racecourses? It is next to impossible.

People of every conceivable background - from a high and mighty to a groundnut vendor - frequent the racecourse. When it comes to placing a bet at the windows or behaving with some decency and dignity, following rules etc. there is no distinction. Almost every section is guilty of violating them.

Take the case of banning smoking in public places. Despite repeated announcements that it is prohibited, people smoke irresponsibly all over the racecourse. Take illegal betting. People place bets on the mobile right under the nose of the authorities who are expected to prohibit it.

So imagine placing bets in a bookmakers` ring or at the Tote windows and still follow Social Distancing. Even mobile betting terminals will not prevent this. The rush at race time is even worse. Clubs can open Tote betting facilities 2 to 3 hours before the first race to reduce crowding but the experience is that punters rush to place their bets even as the horses are loaded for the start of a race.

Windows or bookie stalls at race time present a different spectacle. At least 10 to 20 people will be thrusting their money at the same time to place a bet.

Surely crowds will dwindle for fear of not just being unable to bet but also the fear of catching an infection. Even if Covid19 is wiped out through medicine or vaccine, maybe some other virus could crop up. So it would be back to square one.

How then should race clubs, hoping that racing will commence in future, deal with the situation? The best possible option is to commence online betting. This will solve most of the problems. Developing software by which people can bet without having to go to the Tote window or the bookies` stall is the need of the hour. Every club must look into the matter in all seriousness with the future in mind. Not just the Covid19 scare.

As it is a large number of people use their mobile phones to place bets. Whether they are legal or illegal is for the authorities to find out. The same mobile could well be used to place an online bet. Maybe, the person could use his debit card or credit. Or maybe the club could issue prepaid cards of specific amounts, say Rs 1000, Rs 10,000 etc. which can be topped up for future use as is the case with prepaid mobiles. Registration of the mobile number, having an account, buying a prepaid card from the club etc. are all modalities which the clubs in the country need to work on. And pronto. Lockdown is a good time for such an exercise.

Though online betting could be the best solution in times of social distancing, we also have to take into account that many race-goers are not tech-savvy and they too need to be catered to. The biggest hurdle though is getting the government to approve online betting and the Reserve Bank of India relaxing the rules pertaining to the use of the credit cards for purpose of betting.

Innovation requires an experimental mindset. Constraints drive innovations. The important thing is to get out of the box and invent your way out. Will our turf clubs rise to the occasion? Innovation is the key to survival failing which the sport faces a bleak future.

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Total Comments : 13
Posted by n SHIVAKUMAR on ( April 9 , 2020 )
if turf clubs not start on line betting [all india tote] corona will kill horse race in india
Posted by Lingaraj S K on ( April 14 , 2020 )
Sir, Your idea is good, but you cannot avoid GST i,e 28 % GST + 4% Club commission. If you pay 32 % GST and do bet, you cannot survive. i,e even your bet horse wins or placed, you will get the invested amount back, and if the horses looses then invested amount and tax both will be loss. Where as if you play with bookie just 10% GST will come into account. And for big punters accountability have to be maintained, to IT department. They will under the observation of IT department, they will be caught by IT. So if you give facility
playing on line punter won`t play due GST and acoutability. If you play on line it makes transparency, IT will come to you home.
Posted by RAMESH MALIK on ( April 23 , 2020 )
I fully agree with idea of online horse betting. When it is practiced all over world, why not in India?.

Time has come to change.

Besides more & more people will have the option to opt for online horse betting.

All this will be possible only after approval from Indian Govt. authorities.
Posted by irfantoshi on ( April 25 , 2020 )
Not to forget about reducing Taxes. Any point of time at 28% it is impossible to attract public for wagering.. Govt Should behave wisely when it comes to taxes. Not with inhumane behavior like Adding all the burdens on Cigarettes, Alcohol And Betting.. That`s A Kind of Childishness And Immature Calls which Govt Always Took..
Posted by Rowdy on ( May 26 , 2020 )
BTC, plzzz increase the entry fee from Rs.40 to Rs.500 and minimum bet to Rs.500, then we can easily control the rush in racecourse. Start the racing as soon as possible and save the lives of 10000 horses. Don`t give entry for aged people those who are more easily to be affect by coronavirus.
Thank u.
Posted by Sindaar on ( April 19 , 2020 )
A very good article for encouragement & innovation of online racing in India. A similar article written by Mr Anil Mukhi in the Indiarace .com has coverd many aspects of racing post covid-19 in a detailed manner. Its for the Turf Authority of India to seriously think over the issue and plan of not only a common online national tote but the the conduct of racing keeping social distancing in mind. I feel all the bigwigs in the game should come forward with ideas and innovations and put it before the TAI to implement and adopt it in the interest of racing.

Posted by Beyond2020 on ( April 13 , 2020 )
Turf authorities better unite and lobby for online betting. whole world is doing . why not India?
Posted by Chandulal on ( April 8 , 2020 )
Your article us too premature, and it only exposes your anxiety to bet. Firstly how will you maintain horses, grooms and stables in these COVID times. How can you isolate jockeys who will use public transport viz air ports , and will trainers give the jockey instructions via skype.
If the lockdown is extended do you think that these owners benami or otherwise will happily feed these horses , pay BTC the BTF and twiddle their thumbs looking for a better day....
The last is the e betting infrastructure. Today the situation is that you cannot buy a phone SIM card. So better to postpone all plans until a clear picture emerges. Meanwhile pray that the equine flu right now in Thailand as we speak does not appear magically in our race courses.
Posted by Suresh Suresh on ( April 13 , 2020 )
Good Visionery Article... Whether like it or not online is the future.. Club should develop online portal before itself as allover the world its in practice and existence.. but unfortunately because of the Bookmakers Lobby in India it is still not came in this internet world. Now its do or die for the Turf authority on existence of Horse Racing.
Posted by Rowdy on ( May 28 , 2020 )
Shreekumar sir , social distancing is possible sir
You know , 50 percent of people playing Rs. 20 per race in the racecourse. If we increase the entry fee from Rs. 40 to Rs.500 then we can stop almost 60 percent people at the gate itself. Don`t give entry for above 60 years aged people. Now increase the minimum bet price per race Rs.10 to Rs.400 so that we can control the rush at counters. Start the race as soon as possible.
Save horse racing and save those 10000 horses lives in india
Thank u
Posted by Rowdy on ( May 14 , 2020 )
The best idea I am giving to BTC, in any racecorse in india perticularly in BTC only 20 percent of people betting more than Rs.500 per race, hence we have to stop remaing 80percent people , then only we can maintain social distancing. How to stop these 80 percent people, it is very simple, Increase the entry fee Rs. 40 to Rs. 200 and keep minimum bet per race should be Rs 500 and also don`t give entry for people having above 65 years

Run the show save the horses

Thank u.
Posted by AB on ( April 16 , 2020 )
Perfect Time for this kinda Article.

where Future seems Dark until proper Vaccination is done & all of Better the Public shall Forget the public gathering sports until 2years atleast ...from IPL to Horse Racing.

And Online Betting only can save it.
Posted by HP++ on ( June 12 , 2020 )
If Covid can spread to all countries incld India ...Why can;t Online betting come to India...

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