Government approves online betting at Bangalore Turf Club

Already struggling with high GST and fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the club hopes that this initiative will increase its customer base

Published - July 03, 2020 08:58 pm IST

File photo of a race at the Bangalore Turf Club.

File photo of a race at the Bangalore Turf Club.

The State government, on Friday, gave in-principle approval to Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) to conduct online betting. The club will develop a mobile application where punters can place bets on races and receive dividends through a digital wallet.

Welcoming the government’s permission for online betting, senior steward at BTC Harimohan Naidu said the app will be ready in another two months. Once it is ready, BTC will resume races without spectators, but with online betting.

“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,” Mr. Naidu said.

The club had made the proposal to go online to shore up its revenue by increasing its customer base two years ago when its turnover dropped substantially as the bets came under 28% GST. According to BTC sources, its turnover dropped from over ₹1,900 crore in 2016-17 to nearly ₹750 crore in 2019-20.

“Before introduction of GST, for each race, it had a turnover in the range of ₹1 crore, with over 5,000 punters participating in on-course betting at BTC and a few more at off-course betting centres in Bengaluru, Mangaluru and Tumakuru,” said a source, adding that this now fallen by over 40%

Though it had been proposed two years ago, online betting was not pursued. However, it has become imperative after the pandemic as punters will not be able to gather at the club in the near future due to social distancing norms, BTC sources said.

“Betting during races meant thousands gathering in one place, which we will not be able to get back to in the near future, till a vaccine is found. Shift to online betting will help us to conduct racing without punters physically gathering together,” Mr. Naidu added.

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