Even as everyone was welcoming the resumption of racing after a gruelling wait due to the Pandemic, many Racegoers who were preparing to go to Mysore to buy tickets on the club operated tote pools for Sunday`s Bangalore racing will be disappointed. The Bangalore Turf Club has put a spoke in the Mysore Race Club`s plan by not permitting the club to use its signals.
The reasons are not spelt out. The BTC perhaps felt that it would come under fire for not arranging a similar facility in Bangalore. Mysore Race Club had got the necessary permission and had put things in place only to find BTC stonewalling them.
Every activity of BTC is shrouded in secrecy and the mandarins rarely are open about their actions and one is not sure why Mysore Race Club was denied the permission. Transparency is a word that is missing from the dictionary of BTC Managing Committee. Decisions are taken arbitrarily with each of the committee members believing that they are lords of their domain. The sub-committee chairmen take themselves too seriously for comfort. The Managing Committee doesn`t act cohesively with one or two members hijacking everything. Sadly, the managing committee members are not thoroughly conversant with the job that they are called upon to do. They grope in the dark and are swayed by interested parties. The ones who are more intelligent in manipulation take advantage to have things their way.
The BTC had ample time to get the app for online betting but the Managing Committee went for the approval of Special General Body Meeting for introducing the new feature. Since the government itself permitted such an action, there was no need for special sanction from the general body as the character of the betting did not change. Betting on tote essentially remained the same with the app facilitating betting from the comfort of the mobile phone instead of physically going to the counters. The Managing Committee realized this after the Special General Body resolution was defeated and have now decided to go ahead with the online betting without obtaining sanction from the general body. Hyderabad Race Club have been smart and they have planned their start of the season for November 19. The online betting will be in place by that time.
The BTC could have planned for opening tote counters in the morning and closing the same at least one hour before the first race, with the facility to encash winning tickets the next day. At least there would have been some transaction and the club could have got some money from conducting its racing. Right now conducting racing without spectators with no betting is not helping the government, the punters who patronize or the club itself. The government and the club will earn nothing from the operations except paying out stake money while the illegal outlets would benefit. The club could be held guilty of encouraging betting on illegal channels.
A detailed Press Note has been issued about the start of the season by the BTC but it is silent on why the club could not conduct limited betting operation on its totalizator. One is not sure whether the club failed to convince the government authorities that they could carry on this limited scale betting adhering to all the protocols. Having failed on this score, they could have at least allowed Mysore Race Club to go ahead with its plan.
The Madras Race Club will be conducting its season from November 6. The club has made provision for betting on totes. Each member and stand member can bring three guests to racing. Surely a lot of thought has gone into the way they would go about their operations till normalcy returns.
The webcast of the race will be available for the public for a payment of Rs 500 per day which is very steep. The same facility has been given free of cost to the members who pay a king`s ransom of Rs 250 per year as the subscription to enjoy facilities to the tune of more than Rs 20,000. This is what the Racing Commission Report of 1987 had highlighted.
The Bangalore Turf Club has informed the two websites that are in operation not to put up videos of their races. One doesn`t understand the logic behind the decision. As far as Racingpulse was concerned, we were giving links to videos with the traffic directed to the club`s website itself.
It is clear from the club`s letter than the promotion of its racing to the maximum extent is not the intention of the mandarins and that they are short-sighted. Or they have completely lost the plot. It is the media which has helped spread the sport. Logically the media should be given all facilities to promote the sport. But then the mandarins don`t comprehend that logic is the beginning of wisdom. As someone put it beautifully, Egotism is the anaesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity. You cannot legislate against stupidity.