New York racing board chairman Michael Hoblock.

New York racing board chairman Michael Hoblock.

New York Takes Steps to Help Prevent Betting Scandals

State regulators in New York have begun enforcing what they say will be new safeguards to try to prevent the kinds of abuses that occurred in the recent Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6 betting scandal from happening again in the state.

The New York Racing and Wagering Board on Monday set four new rules as a condition for any tracks being licensed in the state. In addition, an interim report by regulators has identified another nine proposals the state may take in the coming months, according to a copy of the plan obtained by The Blood-Horse.

The board's four immediate demands will have to be in place at any track licensed to operate next year in the state. To prevent pool manipulation, tracks year must ensure that Hitachis, bet mates and other similar portable betting devices in use at tracks do not contain the ability to cancel bets. In addition, the devices can only be issued and used by one individual or betting interest. "It's so we know who's getting them," said racing board chairman Michael Hoblock.

In addition, bets can no longer be cancelled after the start of a race. Presently, there are different policies in effect at tracks relating to when a bet can be scuttled to accommodate such things as teller mistakes. "They will all now be given zero tolerance," Hoblock said. Finally, identifying information, such as name and social security numbers, must be obtained by the tracks from every person who opens a day account or temporary wagering account, such as one of the individuals involved in the Pick 6 scandal. The information must be kept by tracks for three years and turned over to the state as part of any investigations.

An interim report looking into the October betting scandal will be the subject of informal talks in the coming weeks between regulators and racing industry representatives. Hoblock said the talks will lead to other rules in the coming months designed to "bring more integrity to the system and bring some public confidence" in the aftermath of the Pick 6 incident.

"Obviously, it's an issue that needs some attention," Hoblock said Monday.

The plans under consideration by the racing board include mandatory reporting of all ticket-less betting transactions, identification of winning ticket holders presented 48 hours after purchase and elimination of scan wagering methods that delays transmission of certain kinds of bets under the penultimate leg of the wager.

Other ideas that may take longer to implement include introduction of an independent audit mechanism to monitor tote systems and the setting of minimum security standards for outside vendors that provide totalisator services. Rooms in which such computerized totalisator operations are conducted would also have to meet certain safeguards, such as limits to who could enter the rooms and video surveillance.

The interim report said regulators are also looking at plans to adopt minimum tote company standards and ways to license tote companies and their employees. The report said it many such standards are already in place in other states and, therefore, expects little opposition from parimutuel entities in New York.