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RWITC's communique to its members

Posted on - 15 Apr 2011

RWITC's communiqué to its members
 
In keeping with its objective to maintain the highest standards of transparency, Vivek Jain, Chairman, RWITC has issued a circular on behalf of the Committee to its members, to present a mid year report on the working of the Club. For the benefit of the racing fraternity, it is reproduced below:
 
Current and Projected Financial Working:
 
For the eight months ending February 2011, the Club’s unaudited accounts show a profit of approximately Rs 225 lacs compared to a profit of Rs 160 lacs during the previous year. This is inspite of non receipt of Rs 3.25 crores from M/s BJR’s for the year 2010-11 and a total outstanding of Rs 6.5 crores in conducting fees for 2009-10 and 2010-11. A significant fall in Totalisators and Bookmakers investments owing to a 100% increase in Tote Betting Tax and a 50% increase in Bookmakers Betting Tax, as compared to the previous year also impacted profits.
 
The projected working of the Club for the year ended 30th June 2011 is budgeted to be at par with the previous year. However, there are contingent demands which could affect profitability and estimates, though we are contesting these demands legally. 
 
The substantial increase in memberships and contributions from Members will result in an increase in the reserves of the Club to an all time high of well over Rs 100 crores by the end of the current financial year. This will strengthen the financial base of the Club.

Fall in Investments / Commission after increase in Betting Tax:
 
On increase in Totalisators Betting Tax from 10% to 20%, the investments on Tote on a per day basis have dropped by 28%. However, as the Club increased its percentage of commission, the fall in totalisators income is only 11%, thereby, negating, to some extent the full impact of the tax increase. This, however, will still dent profits by over ` 2 crores in the year 2010/11.
 
The fall on investments in Fixed Odds Betting, on a per day basis has been much higher, at 37% and profits on Fixed Odds Betting have fallen sharply by 43 %. Unless the tax is reduced, the Fixed Odds Betting revenue is unlikely to pick up.

Representation to Government for Taxes and License fees:
 
On behalf of the Committee, I, along with the Secretary of the Club, had meetings with Shri Ajit Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister, and Shri R. R. Patil, Home Minister, Government of Maharashtra, at which time, amongst other matters, the issues regarding reduction in Betting Tax and the License to Race fees were discussed. After prolonged talks, it is felt that Government is inclined to consider reduction in betting tax on Totalisators from 20% to 10% and the Betting Tax on Bookmakers Investments from 30% to 20%, subject to approval by the State Cabinet. This remains pending.
 
Government is also considering issue of License to Race at the existing fee, without the usual increase, whereby the License fee could remain unchanged for two years from 2009/10. In addition to this Licence fee, the Club has offered to contribute Rs 50 lacs per annum to Government as additional revenue for Charity.
 
We have requested Government to give permission to the Club to conduct telephone betting for which clearance from the Commissioner of Police, Greater Mumbai, has already been received.

Working Groups:
 
To ensure participation in all facets of the Club’s Working, Committee Members have volunteered their time on various Working Groups as under:
 
 
Wagering, Inter-venue Betting & Off-Course Betting Centres Working Group. 
Jaydev Mody  
Dr. Ram H. Shroff

Annual Sale Working Group.
Shivlal Daga
Champaklal Zaveri
Geoffrey B. Nagpal

Stud Book & DNA Typing Working Groups.
Shivlal Daga
Gautam P. Lala

Veterinary Hospital Working Group. 
Shyam M. Ruia
Gautam P. Lala

Pune Race Course, Stands & Turf Club House Working Group.
Vivek Jain
Jaydev M. Mody
Dr. Ram H. Shroff
 
Pune Racing Infrastructure Working Group (including Stables & Tracks) 
Geoffrey B. Nagpal
 
Cups & Trophies Working Group.  
Gautam P. Lala
 
Mumbai Race Course & Grand Stand  Working Group.
Jaydev M. Mody
Dr. Ram H. Shroff

Mumbai Racing Infrastructure Working Group (including Stables and Tracks)
Geoffrey B. Nagpal
 
Oats Working Group.
Dr. Ram H. Shroff

Marketing, Media, Public Relations, Live Telecast & Website Working Group.
Vivek Jain

Allocation of Boxes Working Group.
Vivek Jain
 
Internal Audit Working Group.   
Shivlal Daga 

RWITC Club House Working Group. 
Champaklal Zaveri
 
Legal Working Group 
Vivek Jain
Jaydev Mody
 
Working Group to Liaise with Govt. 
Vivek Jain
 
HR Working Group 
Dr. Ram H. Shroff
 
Bookmakers Working Group 
Jaydev Mody
Champaklal Zaveri
        
The Committee Members on each Working Group have chosen Members of the Club to assist them in the functioning of these Groups and present a formal report to the Committee as required, from time to time, to monitor performance.
Members may approach the concerned Committee Member on any of the above facets of our operation with suggestions/comments, through the Secretary of the Club.

Status on BJR’S and other litigations:
 
The catering contract with M/s BJR’s, for providing catering facilities to Members of the Club and their guests in the Members’ Enclosure at the Mumbai Race Course, including at the “Gallops”, has been terminated by the Club on account of certain breaches committed by M/s BJR’s, including non-payment of conducting fees of Rs 3.25 crores for the year 2009-2010.  Fees of ` 3.25 crores for the year 2010/11 also remain unpaid.
 
M/s BJR’s filed a suit in Mumbai Small Causes Court inter-alia alleging  claims of sub-tenancy as regards the Gallops area, even when no such right was granted or agreed to between the Club and BJR’s under any agreement.  The Hon’ble Small Causes Court had passed an order on the injunction application in the above suit filed by BJR’s granting certain reliefs in favour of M/s BJR’s. The Club is defending the aforesaid suit which is now pending final hearing.
 
The Club has also filed an appeal in the Small Causes Court against the aforesaid order of injunction passed by the Hon’ble Court.  The Club’s Appeal against the order passed on the injunction application is pending final hearing.  M/s BJR’s have also filed an application for fixation of standard rent in the Hon’ble Small Causes Court which is pending hearing.
 
Pending other proceedings,  the Club has filed an Arbitration Application and Petition in the High Court, Bombay, for appointment of sole Arbitrator and seeking other reliefs, including, deposit of the unpaid amount of conducting fees by M/s BJR’s and appointment of Court Receiver.
 
The Club is attempting an out of court settlement and discussions have been held between the Club’s solicitors and that of BJR’s though no agreement is yet arrived at.
 
As Members may be aware, the Mumbai Municipal Corporation has filed eviction proceedings against the Club and the said proceedings before the Enquiry Officer, Mumbai Municipal Corporation are pending. We expect this will be concluded amicably.

RWITC Club House, Mumbai:
 
The Catering of the RWITC Club House in Mumbai was being conducted by M/s. Foodlinks until last year. On expiry of the agreement with this caterer, the Club invited offers from potential leaders in the hospitality industry and has awarded the fresh rights to the well known Nelson Wang, of ‘China Garden’ fame. We hope Members will enjoy this refreshingly different cuisine, from the new caterer.
 
The Mini Club House is being completely renovated including provision of a brand new kitchen and kitchen equipment.
 
The Committee has chosen the name “HOOVES” for the Club House, in synergy with the equine theme. The new catering and the upgraded Mini Club House is expected to commence shortly.

Renovations at the Stable Area of the Mumbai Race Course:
 
Certain essential renovations at the Stable Area of the Mumbai Race Course have been planned after the current racing season. These include:
 
Lowering of A/C sheet roof of the external stables and to concrete the flooring of English line to facilitate proper disposal of storm water during the monsoons and also when there are unseasonal rains, which use to inundate the external stables and cause a great deal of inconvenience not only to the professionals but also in maintenance and upkeep.
 
Fixing stone laadis or cement concrete to the open areas between the syces quarters in the English line abutting slum, to ensure cleanliness and hygiene.
 
Repairs to and strengthening of four stable blocks which are urgently required.

Turf Club House, Pune:
 
It has been decided to undertake substantial renovations at the Turf Club House (TCH), Pune as suggested by the Working Group. This renovation will include sprucing up of the present Ball Room, Victoria Room (on the first floor) with provision of a lift, renovations to the rooms in the main block, water proofing, new awnings, firefighting equipment, sprucing up of the entrances including arches and pillars at the verandah, as also repairs to the kitchen and toilet areas. New cane furniture has also been ordered to be placed in the verandah.
 
A proposal to add a swimming pool / spa facilities at the TCH is under consideration, subject to getting the relevant approvals.

Facebook, Twitter and Tribe@Turf:
 
In keeping with the times, the Club is now present in the social media universe and can be found on Facebook and Twitter. This is a proactive measure to capitalize on the reach of social media as a means of communication. The Club has been regularly updating these pages on Facebook and Twitter with all the latest racing news, events and happenings, including cultural events. The growth in “followers” and “fans” of these pages has been impressive in a short period.
 
The RWITC can be found on “RWITC” in Facebook and “@rwitcmumbai” on Twitter.
 
An exciting new initiative called Tribe@Turf has been introduced on Facebook. Tribe@Turf is a community group targeted at like-minded Mumbaikars who are passionate and committed to preserving a sustainable and green environment in this city. With the support of the RWITC, the T@T Community has access to the physical space at the Mahalaxmi Race Course, for activities and events that support these ideas.
 
Music@TurfThe Club, in association with National Centre for the Performing Arts, presented the Symphony Orchestra of India, with 65 world class musicians, for the first time ever, in an open-air concert on our Members’ Lawns, with viewing from boxes in the Members’ Enclosure. This unique and well appreciated event, attended by over 1,500 guests, was followed by dinner on the Members’ Enclosure Lawns.
 
Organic@Turf: An Organic Farmers’ Market has been promoted on certain days, in the Members’ Enclosure of the Mahalaxmi Race Course. Members are encouraged to come and buy safe, fresh certified organic fruits and vegetables directly from the farmers. This, together with Organic Cafe and other weekly additions, make for an enriching organic experience and is seen as a socially relevant endeavour by the RWITC.
 
Caring@Turf: The Club conducted charity drives on select race days for contributions to The Happy Home and School for the Blind, The Home for Destitute Children and The Indian Cancer Society. This helped raise several lakhs for these worthy NGO’s, and we hope to make this a regular feature at our racing seasons.
 
We also had two other ‘first time’ events – a welcome dinner for Club Members at the start of the Mumbai Season and a Gala New Year’s Eve program, “Under the Stars”.

RWITC.COM
 
RWITC became the first racing Club in the country to offer live streaming of the Mumbai races on its popular website www.rwitc.com. This much appreciated feature was expanded to live stream the entire day. Racing enthusiasts across the world watched racing ‘live’ in the comfort of their homes.
 
Indian Derby Weekend & Renewal of the Agreement with the UB Group:
 
The McDowell Indian Derby Weekend this year, was a stellar success. In addition to attendance of about 30,000 persons on Derby Day, this year’s race was the richest ever run in India.
 
I am also delighted to inform Members that on expiry of the Derby sponsorship agreement with M/s United Spirits Ltd. in 2012, the Club has already signed a new agreement with USL for the years 2013 to 2017, for an unprecedented amount of Rs 27.5 crores during these years. This is a record agreement for a racing weekend anywhere in India. The Club remains thankful to The UB Group for their outstanding support to this huge event for well over 25 years.

The HDIL Indian Turf Invitation Cup Weekend:
 
Your Club held the Indian Turf Invitation Cup weekend last year at Mumbai. This year, it was the turn of Madras Race Club (MRC) to hold this weekend. However, as MRC stated that it would not be possible for them to conduct the Indian Turf Invitation Cup, the RWITC offered to host this most prestigious weekend of racing for the second year in a row. This weekend was conducted on 5th – 6th March this year, and was a grand success comparable to the outstanding event of last year.
 
The Turf Authorities of India Awards Nite on the eve of the Invitation Cup Day presented Members with show stopping entertainment, a unique Awards Ceremony, followed by a sumptuous dinner, which was attended by over 2,500 members and over 200 delegates from India and abroad. The Club remains thankful to HDIL for their magnanimous sponsorship of The Invitation Cup and The Awards Nite.

Sponsorships:
 
The Club continues to do exceedingly well in attracting several sponsors and set new benchmarks in the promotion of racing. The estimated cumulative contributions by sponsors for the year 2010 -11 is expected to be approximately Rs 10 crores, which will be a new landmark for the Club. The RWITC has established an enviable and outstanding record in this area, with virtually every weekend over the Pune and Mumbai Seasons attracting partners that have helped showcase the sport and the Club at an unprecedented high.
 
The Mumbai racing season has been conducted successfully and will come to a close in a few weeks. We look forward to starting racing in Pune on schedule and welcome the continued patronage of our members.

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