NYRA Seeks to Lower Pari-Mutuel Takeout

Quickly taking advantage of a new pari-mutuel deregulation move by the state, the New York Racing Association has proposed reducing its takeout on certain bets at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga.

Under the application made to the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, the takeout on win, place, and show bets would go from 14% to 13%. The takeout on multiple bets, such as daily doubles, would go from 17.5% to 17%.

The racing board will consider the request June 25, but racing industry officials said a recent law that deregulates takeout issues makes NYRA's proposal all but automatic. The law allows takeouts to be adjusted once a quarter. The NYRA plan would take effect in time for its Saratoga meet.

Off-track betting corporations, however, oppose the NYRA move. They say it will force them to lower their takeout, thereby cutting into revenues. They dismiss NYRA's contention that lowering the takeout will generate much more betting activity to more than make up for the lower takeout.

"NYRA certainly seems to be taking advantage of the change in law approved by the legislature and governor allowing them to change their retention rate," said Michael Hoblock, chairman of the racing board. His agency was among those that pushed for takeout deregulation, which was approved last month.