01/01/2009 1:15AM

First Foolish Rule of 2009

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Dunce5 Well, that didn't take long.

Click here -- Download 9 NYCRR section 5100 19  -- for the new rule released on New Year's Eve by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, mandating that if you wait more than 10 days to cash a parimutuel ticket worth $300 or more, you have to cough up your name, address, date of birth and Social Security number to get your money.

The rule is intended to address the theoretical possibility that unscrupulous insiders could validate uncashed tickets. This is not known to be an actual problem, and the remedy imposes an unreasonable burden on a customer who places a bet on his way out of the track and comes back two weeks later expecting to cash it. Something like 90 days and $5,000 would have been more appropriate threshholds if such a measure were needed at all.

The New York Racing Association opposed the rule.

"[T]his rule is not about integrity," said Charlie Hayward, the NYRA CEO, in a statement. "It is further inconveniencing the customer who is fortunate enough to have placed a winning wager.  No other state in the country punishes its customers for holding on to a winning ticket for more than 10 days.  Given the current state of the industry and the economy in general, this new ruling could not have come at a worse time."

Happy New Year!