03/22/2004 12:00AM

Bill would up NYRA takeout


New York Sen. Richard Larkin, chairman of the State Senate's Racing and Wagering Committee, has introduced a bill that would raise the takeout for bets placed on New York Racing Association races.

The bill, which has not been scheduled for a vote, would raise the statutory minimum and maximum takeout rates on NYRA's races in order to increase revenue to the association, its horsemen, New York offtrack betting companies, and local government. Under the bill, the takeout would be raised at least 2 percentage points on win, place, and show wagers and 2.5 percentage points on two-horse bets, compared with NYRA's current takeout rates.

Barry Schwartz, the chairman of NYRA, has pushed for lower takeouts since taking the helm of the association in 2000. Schwartz has said that takeouts need to be reduced in order to increase payouts to winners and lower the price for betting on horse races.

Schwartz, who was traveling on Monday, was unavailable for comment.

"I don't know if you've noticed it, but NYRA is losing its shirt," said Steve Casscles, counsel to Larkin, on Monday. "There's a lot of people out there who believe that the low takeout is one of the reasons."

Takeout on win, place, and show wagers at NYRA is currently 14 percent, one of the lowest rates in the country. Takeout for two-horse wagers is 17.5 percent.