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Horse Racing in India


Horse Racing is one of the oldest sports that came on Indian soil as a source of entertainment at the times when different rulers ruled various parts of India. This was source of entertainment, a favourite pastime, and a leisure sport. Nowadays it has turned out to be more of a passion and professional sports event where professionally trained jockeys ride on the horses and race according to given set of rules at selected racecourses across different locations throughout India. Number of Horse racing events takes place on different licensed raceways which are able to attract large gatherings of the fans, supporters and punters who bet on their favourite horses.

Legalized Betting

Betting on horse races in India is becoming very popular and is authorized by the Indian law as legal under the 1888 Police Act and Gaming Act that was devised in 1930. Since the laws are very strict and regulatory bodies keep a close check on the Horse racing industry therefore online betting on Indian races is not functional through any of the bookmarkers. However there are many websites that provide tips for betting and a person can use these tips to bet in person on any race.

It is only due to the close check on each and every proceeding that is done by the regulatory Turf Authorities for all the races happening across the nation that no online bookmarkers are availing their services for Indian races. They do not want to risk their business under the strict laws formulated by these Turfs and Government of India. However one has several other options of betting i.e. through pari-mutuel betting at the racecourse itself and other off – course betting centres. Since betting on a Horse race is considered as a skill by the government therefore punters do not face any threat from the gambling laws. Online bet can be placed by Indian punters through available Bookmarkers for the International racing events happening in other parts of the world. For Indian races one has the option of betting in pools at Tote booth at the racecourse or with an offline Bookmarker available on trackside or off-course.

Role of Turf Clubs

In India nowadays there are total of nine licensed racecourses located at Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mysore, Kolkata, Chennai, Ooty and Delhi. These nine professional racecourses across the stretch of the country are managed and looked after by the Turf Authorities of India. A total of five Turf Authorities are there in India which are also responsible for arrangement of the races taking place throughout the country. The process of betting on horses and races is also under the control of these Turfs only. Any betting through Bookmarkers on Internet is not allowed.

However the Horse race and betting lovers can bet on other International events with the help of the bookmarkers available to them on Internet. But it seems that the punters in India seem to enjoy the live bets in person in Tote format or through offline bookmarkers. There are several categories of wagers namely Win, Place, Forecast, Tanala, Treble, Jackpot etc.

Let us try and understand few of these wagers in a novice language:

  • Win – selecting a particular Horse to win the race.
  • Place – a wager on set of three horses to finish first, second and third in a race not necessarily in the same order.
  • Jodi – wager on a set of two horses predicting that either of the two will win the race.
  • Tanala – this wager is a difficult one. It requires correctly predicting the first three positions of a particular race.
  • Forecast – placing a bet on selection of two horses to finish first and second in a race. Order of the horses finishing the race is also accountable for the forecast to be a success.
  • Treble – a selection of three horses to win in three separate races.
  • Jackpot – a selection of five horses to win in five separate races.

Tote Format of Betting in India

The Tote format of betting in India is a pool form of betting in which all the bets are pooled in together. The pooled in amount is distributed among the bet winners after reduction of the charges and other taxes applicable while betting. Therefore the winning prize depends in this case on factors like number of people betting on same thing and the total number of betters. A Tote booth is available for Tote betting at all the major racecourses across the nation.

The Totalisator or Tote form of betting will always have its odds as variable in contrast to the fixed odds betting system. There will be a constant fluctuation in the odds or the current price will throughout the period of betting which would be displayed on a Tote screen to the Punters.

The Tote bets collected from Tote booths located at the racecourse, or through Tote service outlet, or even through trackside Tote operators are collected in a single pool for a given race or set of race for which the bet is being placed.

On the other hand the fixed odds betting or the betting available through only Bookmarkers. It rewards the correct wagers through a fixed odds system. It does not depend on the fluctuation of the odds. The punter in this case is assured to win the bet that was booked by him/her in case of success irrespective of the condition whatsoever. This format is not available for the Indian races due to the absence of online betting system in India.

The love for Horse racing and betting in India is bound to increase with better management and high class resources coming to the aid of the Turfs. The future is really bright for both the jockeys riding the horses and the punters riding on their luck and skills. What is required of the Turfs and Government is better publicity of the sport and high class sponsors to invest in these events.