01 August, 2021

For Bettor Or Worse

The horses are no longer a good bet. The big money has moved to cricket. Only, the law is a hurdle.

For Bettor Or Worse

The prodigals of Mumbai’s racecourse have a simple philosophy: you have to be an ass to bet on a horse. The tax is high, the mood is not. The sun too can be cruel on a racing day. Even the event is rigged - horses are sedated to throw a race. In brief, that still shamelessly imperial place, The Royal Western India Turf Club, offers very little to a punter today. The degrees might vary, but it’s a story repeated all over the country.

Meanwhile, betting on cricket is somewhat different. It’s not legal. No tax. No sun. A phone will do. A man with a scar will come home to collect the money and later return to hand over the booty. Mobiles ensure that a bookie is untraceable. The ‘trade’ is said to be more organised than anywhere else in the world. That’s why, according to a conservative estimate, on a match day, about Rs 1,000 crore changes hands in Mumbai alone. On a racing day at the race-course, that figure is a mere crore. On a Derby day, it may touch Rs 2 crore.

Not surprisingly, attendance at the Turf club has gone down by 40 per cent over...

In this article:

More from Manu Joseph

Latest Magazine

August 09, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section