It’s unconscionable that so little has been made of the New York Racing Association overcharging horseplayers by 1 percent for the past 15 months in its superexotic (trifecta, superfecta, pick 3, pick 4, pick 6 and Grand Slam) bets.
Where is the public outrage?
If this had happened in Las Vegas with one of our major casinos, you can rest assured the Nevada Gaming Control Board would be all over it and penalties would be harsh. Also, the media would have a field day accusing a casino of again cheating the betting public.
The NYRA claims this was an honest mistake because of conflicting regulations from 2008 to 2010. In 2008, the NYRA was ordered to raise takeout on superexotics from 25 to 26 percent. Then in September 2010, the provision expired and the takeout was supposed to revert back to 25 percent. But it never was done.
Now the NYRA has ultimate responsibility. But in such a highly regulated business as pari-mutuel horse race betting, where were all the checks and balances? How could this not be caught sooner? This makes the Life At Ten controversy look like child’s play.
The remedies working backward never will be enough to make good with shortchanged horseplayers, but it will have a positive effect moving forward.
If there is a paper trail, such as a horseplayer using a phone or Internet betting account, then past wagers can be tracked and their accounts corrected. Reportedly $8.6 million can be fixed in this manner.
For those who bet NYRA races out of pocket with no recordkeeping, you are out of luck. And who knows how many millions of dollars that entails.
The NYRA announced it will lower its superexotic takeout from 26 to 24 percent, which will benefit gamblers from now on. It needs to do this permanently for the public-relations hit New York racing deserves to receive.
In reality, this proves again how little respect horseplayers get in the racing world. If horses get drugged or owners get cheated, it’s a big deal. Shaft the horseplayers and there’s barely a peep.
My long-term fear is if this industry refuses to prioritize its customers, then eventually there might be no customers at all.
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New horses include the likes of Blame, Lookin At Lucky and Zenyatta, among others. In Champions, readers will find the lifetime performances of more than 550 elite equines as well as the written history of each horse.
Champions can be ordered through drf.com.
Richard Eng’s horse racing column is published Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @richeng4propick.