Updated on 09/15/2011 1:28PM

New York take nears drop

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The New York State legislature has unanimously approved a bill that will reduce the takeout on most wagers at Saratoga, Belmont, and Aqueduct to the lowest rates in the country.

The bill, which passed the Senate 40-0 on Tuesday and the Assembly 140-0 on Thursday, is expected to be signed by Gov. George Pataki. The reductions will take effect on July 25, opening day of the Saratoga Race Course meet.

Under the bill, takeout on win, place, and show wagers will be reduced from 15 percent to 14 percent; takeout on exactas, quinellas, and daily doubles will go from 20 percent to 17.5 percent; and takeout on the pick six will be reduced from 25 percent to 20 percent on non-carryover days. The rates on win, place, show, exactas, quinellas, and daily doubles will be the lowest non-promotional takeouts in the country.

The New York Racing Association lobbied heavily on behalf of the bill, contending that the reductions would spur wagering, especially at out-of-state simulcast sites, where 80 percent of NYRA's handle is generated.

"The message is simple," said Bill Nader, a NYRA vice president, on Friday. "We're delivering the best racing with the best pricing."

The bill will also allow New York's six offtrack betting companies to take two additional full-card simulcast signals during the Saratoga meet and one additional signal during the Aqueduct meet. The OTB's, which said the reduced takeouts would cost them $6 million a year, pinned their support of the bill on the additional simulcasts.

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