Saturday, May 5, 2012

NYRA Takeout Scandal: CEO and General Counsel Fired

There's a big scandal brewing at the New York Racing Association.  Late last week, the State of New York's Racing and Wagering Board, released an interim report into their investigation of incorrect takeout rates.  A telling quote from the report, “various NYRA officials, including the president/C.E.O., were aware that the ‘takeout’ rate was above the legally allowed rate, yet continued to collect it,” appears damning.  Yesterday, the NYRA Board suspended, the ultimately fired the CEO and General Counsel.  In addition, as reported by, the state's Inspector General's office began a formal investigation, which could ultimately result in criminal charges and perhaps lead to the stripping of the licenses to operate the Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga racetracks.

The Daily Racing Form is also involved in this story.  According to the report, there was an email exchange between the NYRA CEO and the publisher.  Apparently, the publication forwarded an email stating the NYRA was overcharging.  The CEO verified the charge and asked the publisher to keep that information confidential, which the publication did, until the issue was discovered and publicized separately.  Quoting the story, "according to the report, 'Mr. Hayward (NYRA) emailed Mr. Crist (DRF) on August 1, 2011, confirming that the reader was correct and requested that Mr. Crist keep the information confidential. Mr. Crist agreed.' "  Why have an industry publication that won't break this kind of news story?  The New York Daily story on this topic can be found here.

Horse racing in the US is in bad enough shape without these devastating self-inflicted wounds.  How much more damage can this industry take before the public and the politicians determine enough is enough?

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1 comment:

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