Sources have told MiD DAY that the proposal has already been routed through all relevant government departments, and is just waiting for a final nod from the state home ministry. However, when MiD DAY contacted Vivek Jain, chairman of RWITC, about the development, he neither confirmed nor denied it.
“Meet us at the press conference in Pune on Wednesday and I will reply to all your queries,” he replied, “The Pune monsoon racing season will get underway from Thursday, July 26, and the race club has organised a press conference a day before, to announce the highlights, and it is expected that the most important of them will be the official facility of betting over the telephone.
It may be recalled that the RWITC was the first race club in the country to start live webcast of its races last year, allowing race lovers to watch the whole day’s race proceedings — including live races — from the comfort of their homes. Recently, however, the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) wrested the initiative for innovative measures by not only replicating the same facility on their newly-designed website, but also went one step ahead by arranging live webcast of the morning track trials from four different camera angles. With the telephone betting facility, RWITC is bound to again score some points over BTC who has always been a formidable challenger to RWITC’s numero uno status among turf clubs in the country.
Once it becomes a reality, the telephone betting if properly handled, can make a severe dent into the illegal betting going on horse races in the grey market which accounts, some experts say, for about 70% of the entire betting that takes place on a horse race. More than 800 horses are already camping in Pune for the 2012 season, and about 40 are likely come from other centres for the plum events, to participate in 205 races announced in the prospectus published on the club’s website. There will be 87 trophy events and 38 sweepstakes races among these. A large number of races are likely to attract bigger fields, necessitating splitting them into divisions, so the total number of races by the end of the 27-day racing season gets over on Sunday, October 23, will likely go beyond 250.
Pune season schedule:
July 2012: Thu, 26th; Fri, 27th.
August 2012: Sat, 4th; Sun, 5th; Sat, 11th, Sun, 12th; Wed, 15th; Sun, 19th (F D Wadia Trophy); Sat, 25th; Sun, 26th.
September 2012: Sat, 1st (Radio One General Rajendrasinhji Million); Sun, 2nd; Sat, 8th; Sun, 9th; Sat, 15th; Sun, 16th; Sat, 22nd; Sun, 23rd (S A Poonawalla Multi-Million), Sat, 29th; Sun, 30th (McDowell St Leger).
October 2012: Sun, 7th; Sat, 13th; Sun, 14th (Nanoli Stud Pune Derby); Fri, 19th, Sat, 20th; Sat, 27th & Sun, 28th.
(Total: 27 race days).