Horse races in Mumbai and Pune, conducted by The Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) through Paytm First Games, has started taking online bets on horse races. Maharashtra residents have been permitted to place their bets since January 10 on the Paytm First Games app. This recent development has been announced by Paytm First Games as well as the Club itself.
Since January 7, the Maharashtra Government has authorized placing bets through this online medium in Mumbai and Pune’s cities. It is only the residents of Maharashtra that are allowed to place bets through the app. The Chairman of the Turf Club, Zavaray Poonawalla, has been quoted saying that this step is a historical achievement. He further stated that online betting is the future and lifeline of horse racing. On January 8, The Hindu was the first news publication to report these developments.
Due to the COVID -19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown that followed, horse racing was prohibited. After eight months without any races, the RWITC resumed horse-racing on November 27. To allow people to view the races from their homes’ comfort, the Turf Club partnered with Paytm First Games. It has allowed people to Livestream the races conducted in the Pune Race Course through the app.
When interviewed by The Hindu, Poonawala told the publication that horse-racing aficionados could log onto http://www.rwitc.com and Livestream the races. The chairman of the Stewards at the Turf Club, Milan Luthria, was also interviewed. He confirmed that Paytm First Games would be partnering up with the RWITC to help Livestream and subsequently become their online betting partners. Racing patrons can secure online passes to these horse-races on the Paytm First Games app.
If you’re a Telangana resident, you can place bets on the Hyderabad Race Club’s horse races. To ensure that residents of Telanagana place the bets, the Paytm First Games app will ask every user to share their location through their smart devices. Avid horse racing patrons can even put the bets through Hyderabad Race Club and Turf Winners mobile app and website.
The Supreme Court of India declared that horse race betting was a game of skill and not chance in a 1996 judgment. Horse racing is one of the few sports that you can legally bet on. Since the Indian Law and statute have ruled that games of skill are not considered gambling. Also, gaming and gambling are state subjects; therefore, the states have the right to ban or allow placing bets on ‘games of skill’ like horse racing.
In December 2020, the Karnataka government had withdrawn the Bangalore Turf Club’s permission for online betting. New Indian Express reported that the approval was granted a mere six months ago in July 2020 came under speculation after a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) was filed in the Karnataka High Court. The PIL questioned the Karnataka government for supposedly permitting without any authority of Law. The High Court has granted permission to the Bangalore Turf Club to submit a new application seeking approval, which will be considered in agreement with the Law.