Horse racing in India is over 200 years old with the first track dating back to 1777. Today racing is restricted to only Indian bread horses since India has an established racing and breeding industry. In 1996, the India Supreme Court ruled that horse race betting was a skill and not a game of chance. The ruling justified wagering on horse racing and deemed it a legal form of gambling. Since the Supreme Court ruling horse racing has exploded in popularity. There are currently 9 race tracks that host racing events and 6 Turf Authorities of India. Racetracks typically have pari-mutual wagering stations along with trackside bookmakers. Some tracks even have off-course and inter-track betting centers. Today most states accept bets over the counter on horse racing and offer live television coverage of the races. On this page, we will discuss India legal horse betting operations and the legal aspects that follow the sport.
Is Online Horse Race Betting Legal In India?
There are no laws that state that offshore online gambling is illegal on a national level across India, so it is presumed legal. The 3 main India gambling laws are extremely outdated dating all the way back to 1867 and have no mention of online operations. There are currently no Indian online racebooks and Indian horse races are sometimes hard to find online. Only the most reputable sites with the biggest selection of horse races to bet on will have India horse races and usually only a few select races. Sikkim is the only India state that currently offers legal online gambling licenses and has yet to issue one for a domestic Indian racebook. Our guide on India horse racing laws will offer more insight into the legal aspects associated with the sport of India horse racing.
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Types Of Horse Race Bets In India
Betting on horse racing in India is a little different than that of other places. Bets are placed with a bookmaker either trackside or off-course and the types of bets are more or less standardized. Here are some common bet types associated with horse racing in India.
Win – When the bettor picks the winning horse of a particular race.
Place – When the bettor picks the horse that will place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.
SHP- Second horse pool, the bettor picks the horse that will come in 2nd.
Forecast – A bettor selects the 1st and 2nd place horses in a particular order.
Quinella – A bettor picks the 1st and 2nd place horses in no particular order.
Jodi – A bet on a combination of 2 horses, if either wins 1st place the bet is a win.
Bar Bet – A bet on the favorite horse to lose, if any other horse wins the race it is considered a winning bet.
Jackpot – This bet requires selecting winners of 5 different races.
There are other types of bets associated with India horse racing, but these are some of the most common and easily understandable.
The tote or totalizator is the automated system that runs betting calculations. At the tote window, the winning payout is only figured up after the race is over. A commission is deducted from the overall bets and shared by the government and the turf club. The funds remaining after all bets are in and the race is over are then divided up amongst the winning bettors.
Off-Course Betting Centers
Off-course betting centers are how race clubs accept bets by non-club members. Permitted turf clubs can offer betting services off-course to any adult who wishes to place a horse race bet. The bigger turf clubs have multiple centers across India while the smaller clubs are usually limited to just a few. Recently the Bangalore Turf Club lost their permit and has been suspended from offering off-course betting. They are hoping to regain their off-course permit by the start of the 2018 horse race season.
India’s Notable Horse Races
There are currently 5 classic or notable horse races across India. The India 1000 & 2000 Guineas, The India Oaks, the Indian Derby, and the India St. Leger. The India derby is known for its high purse of 30 million rupees. Horses and jockeys must work their way to the major races by placing in the invitational rounds. For most of the year, there is a seven-day race schedule all across India except for during the summer.
There are 7 turf clubs that conduct horse races across India year-round. Each turf club holds events at different race tracks across India.
- Bangalore Turf Club
- Hyderabad Turf Club
- Royal Calcutta Turf Club
- Royal Western India Turf Club
- The Madras Race Club
The above turf clubs together make up the Turf Authority, which together they control and set standards for the horse racing industry across India. The Mysore Race Club and the Delhi Race Club are the other two clubs that also have their own races.
Who Regulates The Horse Racing Industry In India?
The Turf Authority of India regulates the sport of horse racing and normalizes the industry by electing committees to govern their individual turf clubs. Each club has separate membership and eligibility criteria and once a player becomes a member they can legally bet on the sport at their registered turf club. Each club has a different set of guidelines pertaining to membership of the clubs. Non-registered bettors can still place bets at any of the off-course betting centers.
India Notable Horses And Trainers
Over the years India has produced some very well-respected horses and trainers. In India, there are quarantine restrictions so racing abroad is very minimal. Some of the most popular horses over the past years are: Mystical, Saddle Up, and Beat It Dude. All these horses had success racing abroad. A.B. Davis is a well-known trainer and one of the best to ever come out of India. He is the first trainer to saddle over 100 classic winners.