Karnataka government legalised online betting at the Bangalore Turf Club in light of the pandemic. The club will now develop an app for punters to place bets. Karti Chidambaram giving his nod to the move mulled legalisation of betting on all sports in India.
The legalisation of online betting comes as a relief to the horse racing community in the state. Due to the pandemic, the racing community has been facing tough times, where races haven't taken place in the past 5 months.
Karti Chidambaram advocates betting on all sports
The pandemic has hit the sporting community as nothing else has in the past. All sports have drawn to a halt and so has horse racing. As gatherings have been banned, it's impossible to hold a race amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
However, the horse racing community seemed to find a silver lining as the Karnataka government approved online betting on horse racing at the Bangalore Turf Club. The pandemic's timing also coincided with the Summer which happens to be a huge season for the Club as it brings in good revenue, scheduled for May but now cancelled.
The government has now approved the betting on races, 'in principle'. In a field where punters are the main source of revenue who come to view races in large numbers, now with legalised betting the club a reboot and change the format and recover some of the losses.
With legalised betting, the club pitched that it would allow for transparency as well as eliminated the illegal side betting. The club will now prepare an app for punters to download and place bets on as well as virtually gather for races.
Managing Committee member Hari Mohan Naidu told The Hindu, "With online betting, a racing enthusiast sitting anywhere can place bets on the races we conduct. This will naturally expand our customer base tremendously, increase our turnover and also revenue to the government."
Karti Chidambaram lauded the move on Twitter and advocated that the same be applied to all sports. He added that betting on sports is a global reality and India shouldn't resist as it can bring in revenues, "All sports betting must be legalised. Sports betting is a reality globally, no point being hypocritical about it in India. Tax on legalised betting will be a huge source of revenue."
It is yet to be seen if the government might adopt a softer stance towards the suggestion and whether horse racing in Karnataka will be revived with this move.