An experiment by a New York racetrack to lower pari-mutuel takeout in the hope of increasing handle was approved March 26 by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
Tioga Downs, a harness track with video gaming machines, has had talks with the Horseplayers Association of North America, which has pushed for takeout reductions. Tioga Downs is the first track to lower takeout across the board, not just on specific bets.
The rates for the upcoming live racing season are as follows: win, place, and show bets at 15%, down from 18%; exacta and daily double wagers at 17%, down from 20%; and all other exotic bets at 21%, down from 25%.
The experiment, in place for a year, has the support of the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen’s Association.
“I would like to thank the Tioga Downs horsemen for supporting this pilot program, and the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for supporting our initiative as well,” Tioga vice president of racing Jason Settlemoir said in a statement. “We will continue to engage and listen to our customers’ needs and wants as we try to improve the overall business at both Tioga and Vernon Downs.”
Vernon Downs is another upstate New York harness track owned by the same company. Horsemen there rejected the takeout experiment.
Settlemoir, a board member of the United States Trotting Association, has been outspoken regarding the racing industry’s need to be proactive and enact changes designed to increase interest in and wagering on racing.
Tioga management has said the takeout initiative is a “pilot program.” Betting outlets that take the Tioga signal will get a lower signal rate.