NYRA Complying With Refunds on Overcharges

Racetrack operator failed to follow state law to lower takeout on exotic wagers.

The New York Racing Association said it is meeting a state request to refund money by March 30 to as many bettors it could identify that were overcharged when NYRA failed to follow a state law to lower its pari-mutuel takeout rate on exotic wagers.

NYRA officials said 9,994 members of its rewards account were credited March 23 with $437,716 for the overcharge when NYRA failed to lower its takeout for more than a year from 26% to 25%. The mistake escaped the attention of NYRA and state regulators.

NYRA said it will also send out 4,927 checks–totaling $157,292–March 26 to qualifying W2G winners of exotic bets it could identify.

The $594,508 in total refunds by NYRA is out of a pool of nearly $1.2 million NYRA acknowledged it directly overcharged bettors during the period before the situation was caught in December by auditors from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office.

In all, about $8 million was overcharged. The vast majority of the takeout overcharges, which were on wagers on NYRA races by non-rewards account members at other racetracks or through advance deposit wagering operators, will never get refunded. To try to make amends, NYRA reduced the takeout rate on exotic wagers to 24% from the legally permitted 25%.

The wagers--there were 743,076 winning tickets affected--were made between Sept. 15, 2010, when the state-approved takeout rate was to have sunset, and Dec. 18, 2011, on such pools as trifectas, pick threes, and Grand Slam.