ELMONT, June 3, 2018--What might have been, could have been, and should have been a financial boost for New York racing, might not provide any relief at all.

In fact, legalized sports betting could stop New York racing’s recent positive momentum cold. Or worse.

When looking at the language that two same-but-different sports betting versions of potential legislation provides, racing at this juncture is at the edges of Albany’s radar.

Financial provisions for casinos and Off-Track Betting Corporations have been considered and language provides a possible framework for revenue sharing from this new stream.

For New York racing, however, there is no such animal. Why? Because everyone wants a piece of the new action, including the Governor, who is on record as saying he needs more information.

Meanwhile, the Thoroughbred and Harness racing industries will have no choice but to fall in line behind casinos, domestic or foreign, OTBs, and professional major sports leagues.

And not to forget that existing Native American casinos, while lacking regulatory guidelines, do not need the state’s permission to offer sports bets.

But like everyone else, they are going to have to learn how to “make book” so as minimize the amount of exposure created when a preponderance of the betting action is on one “side” of the line.

The damndest thing to happen this week was the Albany appearance of former New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi who spoke with State Senators and Assembly members behind closed doors.

Why closed doors? Who is he representing in this, what exactly is he lobbying for, except to state publicly that he’d like to see sports betting up and running ASAP?

At the same time, he said that the integrity of the games must be preserved, as if Pete Rose never existed and he never knew that it was bookmakers that exposed fixing of college and NBA basketball.

I'm a Girardi fan, but what’s the big hurry here? New Jersey and Delaware are going to beat New York to the punch this week, so why not get this right? There’s still time before King Football point-spreads begin to appear.

Casinos in New York already have been ceded permission to offer legal sports betting when the Supreme Court struck down the ban, which it did a fortnight ago. But it still needs Gaming Commission regulations to follow.

And we know how busy they are: Their most recent monthly meeting last week was concluded in a total of 16 minutes.

Given that they earn a $300 per-diem, based on an eight-hour/five days per week/30-day month, the commissioners are being paid at about the same rate as NBA all-stars.

Among the issues to consider are regulations for online betting within the New York State--something like an arrangement that New Jersey horse racing has with Betfair—and wagering on smart phones.

Regarding racetracks, a better word for the process might be limitations. Tracks adhere to a thorny arrangement whereby takeout revenue is divided among tracks, the state, OTBs and their municipalities, horsemen, and New York breeders.

What will a percentage of horse racing revenue from booking sports bets look like? Who gets that money and how much? Consider this scenario:

Resorts World has a casino at Aqueduct; gambling’s Isaac and Ishmael. In advance of online and phone wagering, let’s say that bettors would be compelled to bet at a brick-and-mortar facility.

Now if sports betting kiosks were to be created for the purpose of issuing betting slips, will enabling legislation differentiate between Aqueduct casino and Aqueduct racetrack?

If the answer is casino, then how does sports betting help racing exactly? Aren’t all tracks clamoring to get sports fans inside their buildings?

Another possibility would be an entirely new hybrid, allowing all legal betting franchises to handle all of it; casino, sports and horse betting action. It would be confusion to win, place and show.

Having any of this done before the end of June, especially in an election year, would be a far bigger upset than Justify losing his Triple Crown bid on Saturday.

Like this country, horse racing in New York, is at a crossroads. What are the chances that legislators and commissioners will make successful debuts in this space?

Another Example of Why Horse Racing Needs a Central Authority

I make at least one bet a day for two reasons: It’s part of the job and, like the cliché says, it’s a terrible waste to be walking around lucky and not know it. It’s been this way since 1976.

Still, I was confused about Pick 3 payoffs relative to scratched horses, the rules that pertain to when a horse is scratched, and from which leg, if the scratch was early or late, etc., etc.

I turns out I wasted an hour before posting this, sifting through hundreds of pages of wagering rules in New York and California. Different strokes for different folks via disparate state regulations.

I knew in New York it would be one of two things: Either some form of consolation if I had two legs correct with a scratched horse, or I would be moved to the post-time favorite; either/or was OK.

But I didn’t know the Pick 3 rule in California. As it turns out, when a horse is scratched from the second leg, the rules are the same:

New York: In the event a betting entry is scratched in the second leg after the start of the first leg a consolation payoff shall be computed for those bets combining the winners of the first and third legs with such scratched horse… The resulting remainder shall be divided by the amounts bet on the combination of such first and third leg winners with all betting entries in the second leg…etc.

California: If a wagering interest is scratched or designated to run for purse only from the second leg after the start of the first leg, a consolation payout shall be computed for those wagers combining the winners of the first and third legs with such scratched or designated horse(s)… etc.


The following is a printout from my Xpressbet account: The #1 horse in the second leg was scratched--but it had to be a late scratch because my wager, including #1, was accepted.

Web Service June 2, 2018 12:24 PM 404704 Race 7 Santa Anita $1.00 P3 (PWHL) 1, 2, 6 / 1 / 3, 4, 6 Bet $9 $9

But I received a $9 refund instead of a consolation (as is indicated by the second $9 figure on the printout). It is doubtful that the favorites in the first and third legs, combined with the equivalent of an ALL in the middle, would even have returned my original bet.

But that’s not the point. As 1-2 Unique Bella was wavering late after having raced Paradise Woods into defeat, the #3, La Force at 24-1, was charging down the center of the track but ran out of racetrack, a fast-finish runnerup. The payout would have considerably more than $9.

The $2 Pick-3 (1/5/6) Paid $38.20 (3OF3), with individual prices of $5.20, $7.00 and $3.00. To be honest, in the absence of an alternate selection, I, like most other bettors, would prefer “action.”

The point is that I play the game virtually every day for a 42-year period and I didn’t know what the rule was because the incident did not occur at a “home” type track.

#uniformityinracingnow