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  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Kingfisher Ultra Derby Bangalore (Gr.1)
  • Desert God wins The Tetrasoft Inc. Bangalore St. Leger (Gr.2)
By Ikram Khan
Saturday 10 Mar 2018
Ikram Khan

The penny wise and pound foolish approach of the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC)  exposed the inability of the managing committee to sort out  the tote operators issue. and a flash strike by the 800 daily wage employees saw the decision makers running helter, skelter looking for a face saving shelter. The BTC with their backs against the wall could do nothing but postpone the Friday's races before promising to amicably sort of the issue which saved Saturday's  racing  schedule.

It is no secret that the premier racing centre is facing a financial crisis and in its attempt to survive and kick-on, the decision makers of the club introduced a host of cost cutting measures including cutting down the numbers of the tote operators. The reason provided was that a study conducted by the mandarins of the club brought to light that the club could do away with a few, particularly on inter-venue betting on Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata taking into account that the tote betting at this three centres is not high. In addition the club also decided to crack the whip on the double wages claim of the tote operators working on dual race days and two shifts at the outside betting counters. Not impressed and in no mood to fall in line, the poor tote operators who are being needlessly targeted by the club struck work and all that the BTC could do was to shut shop.

Why is that this new managing committee which lacks the vision, unable to see the big picture avoid going after the more than 150 illegal bookmakers who are making merry, taking home a few crores each day while boldly operating from inside the premises of the club without doling out a penny to the club. Before the club foolishly shunted out the 21 licensed bookies, the revenue generated from the bookmakers was 15 crore annually and now with nothing to pay and no BTC official bothered the bookies are enjoying the free good run.

No club and no elected body will allow this kind of daily loot. But this is happening each day under their nose and no serious or concrete effort is made to book the offenders. It is strange but true and it only defies logic.

Not willing to put a stop to the illegal menace which is costing BTC dear, the collections at the tote dropping from 8 to 9 crore to 4.5 to five crore which effectively means that the bookies are eating half of the pie and introducing some cost cutting measures in a bid to save a couple of lakhs only exposes the inability of the committee to identify and address the real issue. You can't let the sharks get away and net in only the small fish and then claim that this is a prize-catch. A couple of committee members revealed that the committee had time and again reported the illegal bookies issue to the police but the cops have so far not provided the desired assistance. Well then why is the BTC shying away from taking the next step. Hire a few sharp security men and nab the offenders. It certainly will not cost the club four crore each day to hire 20-30 men to get the job done. But the fact is that where there is a will there is a way and here the willingness to smoke out the illegal menace is missing for more reasons than one.

The tote collections are drastically falling and it will not be long before the bookies start to grab more share of the pie and before that happens one only hopes the men in charge quickly wear the right thinking hats and seek solutions to the bigger and richer issues rather than hurt the daily wage employees who are earning the daily bread punching tickets and not punching big holes is the pocket of BTC like the illegal bookies are merrily doing day after day .