GST on betting amount has ended the Indian horse racing industry

Updated: 17 November, 2018 08:58 IST | Prakash Gosavi | Mumbai

The most prestigious racing season of the country which once showcased close to 50 days of packed action is now truncated to 37 days as it gets underway tomorrow at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse

KN Dhunjibhoy
KN Dhunjibhoy

The future is so bleak there is not even hope in the air. The dark clouds figuratively hanging over the sport of horse racing seem to get more menacing with every passing month as horses are leaving the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in droves to look for other pastures - not necessarily greener, but making slightly better economic sense for their owners who pay the bills.

The most prestigious racing season of the country which once showcased close to 50 days of packed action is now truncated to 37 days as it gets underway tomorrow at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse.

The reason is not difficult to spot. It's the 28% GST that was slapped in July last year on the basic betting amount that has sounded the death knell for the Indian horse racing industry. "Right now, we are focusing on survival," Khushroo N Dhunjibhoy, chairman of the RWITC, told mid-day when asked about the truncated season.

"The irrational tax level of 28% GST on the betting amount has crippled our revenue model. Who in his right mind will come here and bet when he knows he is going to lose Rs 28 out of Rs 100 even before the horses run?"

For the 37-day season, which includes 12 evening race days in March and April next year, will begin tomorrow (Nov 18) and conclude next year in April (Sunday, 13th). The stakes money on offer is a substantial Rs 13.25 crore.

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First Published: 17 November, 2018 08:53 IST

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