The Parkash Singh Badal-led Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD)-BJP Government in Punjab on Tuesday gave its nod for a draft Bill, which seeks to legalise betting on horse racing and set up the biggest horse racing course in North India.
Besides, the Punjab Horse Race (Regulation and Management) Act, 2013 provides for licensing, regulation, control and management of horse races on race courses, maintaining and keeping horses at the race courses, exhibition of the horses and other matters pertaining to the races.
Sources said that the race course will be constructed on the 150 acres of land belonging to the state Animal Husbandry Department in Mattewara village near Ludhiana at an estimated cost of `200 crore.
Also, a special area will be developed for holding dog races and the racing track for ‘greyhounds’ will either form part of the proposed race course or will be set up at a separate location nearby.
Dog racing is a major craze here, especially in the state’s rural areas. Nearly 1,000 unofficial ‘greyhound’ races are held across the state every year.
A brainchild of Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal, the race course is likely to come up in the next couple of years. In addition to it, a polo club, training centre, betting halls, hotel, horse stalls, riding centre, theatre and an amusement park will also form part of the first-of-its-type project in these parts.
As part of the efforts to increase the state’s revenue, the SAD-BJP Government also gave its nod for an Online Lottery system, which would be organised, conducted, operated and regulated as per the provisions of the Lottery Regulation Act, 1998 and the Punjab State Lotteries Rules, 1998.
According to a government official, the system was envisaged to offer lottery games played through a network of computer terminals or such other devices as may be approved by the government, installed at retail locations, with the terminals connected to a main data centre at a central headquarter.
And the government would appoint a distributor and selling agent who would inter-alia design and procure, install and commission, operate and maintain, promote and market and carry out other activities to be required for setting up and managing the lottery for the purpose.
The selection of the selling agents, meanwhile, would be done through Tenders and Monitoring Committee.