Horse racing is a performance sport, typically a competition between horses ridden by jockeys over a set distance. It is one of the most ancient sports, but over the years basic rules of the sports have remained the same – to identify which horses is the fastest over a set course or distance. Horse races vary in format and many countries have developed their own traditions around the sport. The variations normally include restricting the breeds of the horses, running over obstacles, running over different distances or running on different track surfaces.
Horse racing in India, has a long and chequered history of over 200 years. It is the only betting sport which is legally allowed in India since the first racecourse in the country, which was set up in Madras in 1777. The Indian Stud Book maintains records of all breeding activities in India, with racing restricted only to Indian-bred race horses. India also has a well established breeding industry with stallions imported from all over the world. India has a mixture of both pool betting and traditional bookmakers, for horse betting enthusiasts who view and place bets on their favourite horses at licensed racetracks.
Pool betting or Parimutuel betting, is where gamblers money are pooled and shared proportionally among the winners once a deduction has been made from the pool. Unlike many forms of casino gambling, in Pari-mutuel betting, the gambler bets against other gamblers, not the house. In some countries it is known as the Tote, named after the totalisator – large display of odds or payoffs for each horse – which calculates and displays bets already made. The Parimutuel system is also used in gambling on greyhound racing, jai alai, and all sporting events of relatively short duration in which participants finish in a ranked order.
A bookie can be an individual or an organisation, who make their money by transaction fee on their customers’ bets. They usually don’t place bets themselves, but often lend money to gamblers. Although the term bookie has been associated with illegal activity, a bookmaker has become more legitimate with the expansion of sports betting and online betting. However, the legality of the various types of gambling is determined by state governments.
Horse racing has always been immensely popular in India, just like it is in UK or USA. There are five regional racing authorities in India which are Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore Mumbai and Hyderabad thoroughbred Racing in India. India is today home to 9 racecourses managed by the Turf Authorities of India, a regulatory body that organizes a number of horse racing events and manages trackside bookmakers and pari-mutuel betting booths. While horses are sometimes raced purely for sport, a major part of horse racing’s interest and economic importance is in the gambling associated with it. A few months go, Karnataka State governments approval for online betting, should open doors to the market which will boost revenue of the establishment and the government.
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