RWITC hopes to overcome financial crisis -By Shailendra Awasthi | TOI
Posted on - 18 Feb 2019
RWITC hopes to overcome financial crisis
-By Shailendra Awasthi | TOI
After trimming stake money by 25% till further notice, the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) has decided to cancel the races to be held on February 27. This has led to rumours flying thick and fast in the racing fraternity that the absence of bookmakers has severely affected the RWITC's financial situation and that the premier racing centre in the country faces a grim future. The racing operations chief of the RWITC, Geoffrey Nagpal, however, says that the situation is expected to become normal by next month.
"We hope bookmakers will return soon," Nagpal told TOI on Sunday. "Having taken legal consultation, we are making every effort to obtain the state home department's clearance at the earliest. Hence the decisions regarding a stake cut or cancellation of races have been made for a month at a time," Nagpal added.
He admitted that the arrest of bookmakers by the police and their subsequent absence has affected RWITC's finances. "We were expecting a profit of Rs 4 crore this year ending March 2019 after depreciation (nine months ending December 18 returned a profit of Rs 1.31 crores). But the bookmakers' issue is costing us about Rs 2.5 crore a month as not only is our intake affected but offcourse collections too have taken a hit. If the situation doesn't normalise by March, we might face a loss upto depreciation claimed," he said.
RWITC also is unlikely to cut any more days of racing (14 left) if the bookmakers return.
"If they don't, then maybe the weekdays with no sponsored races will have to be looked at. Keep in mind the fact that the horse population in the past few years has dropped by 40%, so a 15% cut in number of days is not out of context," said Nagpal.
At the same time, RWITC is also trying out other ways to improve its financial situation.
"We will have to cut costs on all fronts. The major costs are stakes and salaries, and both are sensitive issues which is why cuts have been minimal. We have to do our best to increase royalty from other clubs and long pending issues like Gallops litigation need to be brought to an end with resultant financial benefit to the club. New avenues of revenues also have to get priority," observed Nagpal.
It also unlikely that the mobile phone usage charges will be increased much. "Past records show that with lower charges, compliance has been better, and the gross revenue is also much better," he added.