Racing runs into rough weather

31-08-2017
DH

While on-course betting at the BTC will resume only in November with the Summer Season having just concluded, off-course betting — a major money-spinner for the BTC — cannot be held until the licence comes through from the government.

Although the renewal procedure is a routine affair that is done every quarter, sources said BTC will have it tough this time owing to their reluctance to accept a major government demand.

Since 2014, the government has requested that BTC increase its membership -- about 350 now -- and allocate 50 to its officials. Many at the BTC, where membership is tightly controlled and passed on predominantly to family members, have been objecting to it.

They will now hold a Special General Body Meeting on September 5 to pass a resolution on whether to approve the government’s request, meaning racing is expected to take a hit until then. BTC chairman Y Jagannath was hopeful of getting the licence. “There’s still a day left and I’m hoping the State government will renew our licence. A lot of things can happen in 24 hours. I understand there are plenty of rumours circulating and it’s not right for me to comment on them. I shall wait until Thursday evening for a proper comment,” he told DH.

Sources revealed to DH that BTC is divided over acceding to the government’s request. It may be recalled that the start of the Summer Season was also affected by the licensing issue.

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