09/21/2012 7:08PM

Fairplex Park: Investigation launched on pick-five payoffs

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An erroneous payout to a Washington state bettor on the pick five at Fairplex Park last Sunday has led to a widespread review of accounting procedures for such wagers in the last 16 months by Sportech, the tote company at California racetracks.

According to a statement released by the California Horse Racing Board on Friday, a bettor at Emerald Downs in Washington received a payoff of$1,118.15 for a winning pick five ticket on Fairplex Park races on Sept. 16. The ontrack payoff was $1,282.50. The bettor notified the racing board of the discrepancy.

An investigation earlier this week revealed that Sportech’s data center in Sacramento, Calif., had applied the wrong takeout rate to the pick five races at Fairplex Park for the first eight days of the meeting – Sept. 7-16. As a result, the racing board ordered Sportech to review takeout rates applied for the popular pick five bets since April 2011 “to confirm this was an isolated incident,” according to the statement.

If the event is not isolated, the racing board said it will order Sportech to develop a system for settling claims from bettors who feel they received less than the entitled payoffs. In cases where the payoff was more than $600, bettors could provide proof through Internal Revenue Service documents.

In an initial review, Sportech told the racing board that the erroneous payoff was isolated to pick five wagers placed in Washington on the first eight days at Fairplex Park. During that time, only one winning pick five ticket was cashed in Washington on a Fairplex Park wager, the statement said.

The pick five has proven to be a popular bet since the takeout was reduced from 23.68 percent to 14 percent at the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting in April 2011. All other Southern California tracks have offered the wager in a similar structure at subsequent race meetings.