03/29/2006 1:00AM

NYRA takeout going up

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While a rebate program offered by the New York Racing Association will not start until May 3, a 1-percent takeout increase, to 15 percent, on straight wagers made on NYRA races goes into effect on Saturday. As part of the decision to approve the rebate program, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board required NYRA to increase the takeout.

The takeout increase goes into effect before the rebate program is launched because, under state law, changes in takeout rates may only occur on a quarterly basis. The rebate program, called NYRA Rewards, begins with the opening of Belmont Park's spring meet on May 3.

Bill Nader, NYRA's senior vice president, said that had the racing and wagering board rejected the rebate program - which offers fans rebates based on their monthly level of handle - NYRA would not have raised the takeout.

"It was a coupled entry," Nader said.

Bettors need to earn a minimum of 2000 points per month to qualify for the rebate program. Bettors earn 1 point for each dollar wagered on a NYRA race and a half-point for each dollar wagered on a simulcast race. No rewards points will be given, however, for any parimutuel payoff of $2.10, meaning bridge-jumpers - bettors who like to make unusually large show bets on short-priced favorites - cannot take advantage of this program.