On April 29, 2012, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board issued an interim report regarding the New York Racing Association (NYRA)’s failure to properly take out the appropriate monies due the state of New York from September, 2011 to November, 2011.
According to the New York Post, the 26% NYRA paid from its wagers on Superfectas and Trifectas to the State as a “takeout” ( money due the State of NY) was reduced to 25% September 2011. The NYRA did not make the adjustment, shortchanging bettors over $8 million dollars, with the association itself keeping $1.1 million.
The Racing and Wagering Board in its report determined that NYRA did not appropriately reduce the takeout when the statute provided for it. The Board further states that NYRA executives knew that the statute was ending through two separate letters.
As a result NYRA suspended two high level executives, President and CEO Charles Heyward and Vice President and General Counsel Patrick Kehoe while it investigates the matter internally. C. Stephen Dunker, the Chairman of the Board of NYRA has said the investigation will be concluded before May 4, 2012, but damage has already been done.
The NYRA board has no choice but to take this seriously and act swiftly, for two key reasons.
First, the negative connotations that NYRA has held within the industry (especially in NY) need to be quelled. The second is that racing needs no further negative publicity.
Unfortunately, racing and NYRA have had a long history of negative stories. We should seek to be better than the negative press we are receiving…transparency is more important than ever, and the key to rebuilding public trust in the sport we love so much.