Updated on 04/14/2012 11:22AM

Tote mistake on Keeneland races costs NYRA bettors


Bettors at Aqueduct and Belmont and patrons of the New York Racing Association’s account-wagering operation who cashed tickets on Keeneland races on Friday and Saturday received erroneous payouts, NYRA said on Wednesday. United Tote, NYRA’s bet-processing company, has taken “full responsibility for the error,” NYRA said.

The error, which affected all 10 races on Keeneland’s Friday card and the first two races on Keeneland’s Saturday card, resulted in a $10,000 total underpayment to bettors who cashed tickets on the 12 races, according to a NYRA official. It occurred after the bet-processing company incorrectly applied takeout rates for Turfway Park in Kentucky to the Keeneland signal, the official said. Turfway’s rates are higher than Keeneland’s, with one exception, the pick four.

As a result, payouts for win, place, and show bets were subjected to a 17.5 percent takeout, rather than a 16 percent takeout; exotic bets were subjected to a 22 percent takeout, rather than a 19 percent takeout; and the pick four was subjected to a 14 percent takeout, rather than a 19 percent takeout.

United Tote has sent letters to the New York State Racing and Wagering Board and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission acknowledging its fault in the error.

Ben Murr, the president of United Tote, said on Thursday that the company is reviewing the incident and that “we are meeting with all our field supervisors, NYRA, and Keeneland to ensure that this never happens again.”

When asked why it took until Saturday to determine that the wrong takeout rates were applied, Murr said he would not comment.

Greg Lamb, the supervisor of parimutuel wagering for the KHRC, confirmed on Wednesday that he had received a letter from United Tote taking responsibility for the error. He said that a preliminary investigation into the error had determined that the Turfway Park rates were applied to the races, as the NYRA official said.

Although the mistake most prominently affected the NYRA bettors, the rates did have a small but measurable impact on payouts for Keeneland races across the country because of a system that began to be adopted at U.S. sites in the mid-2000s called net-pool pricing. The system allows sites to apply their own takeout rates to simulcast wagers, and also allows for the acceptance of bets in different currencies.

Bettors at NYRA sites typically account for approximately 3 to 4 percent of every Keeneland pool, according to Lamb.

In a statement, NYRA said that United Tote is recalculating the prices for the Keeneland bets and that credits will be applied to any affected NYRA One accounts. In addition, NYRA will attempt to identify any patrons who filled out tax forms related to any Keeneland payout for the affected races so that they may be reimbursed, and it will pay out the correct prices for any outstanding tickets.

Last December, NYRA said it had incorrectly calculated payouts on superexotic bets for the previous 18 months because it had failed to reset its takeout rate to 25 percent when a law providing for a 26 percent takeout expired. The error drew criticism from regulators and fans, and as a result, NYRA lowered its superexotic takeout to 24 percent, one point below the legal maximum. 

Correction: A previous version of this article mischaracterized the incident involving incorrect takeout rates for Keeneland races on Friday and Saturday. The incorrect takeout rates at Keeneland are in no way similar to the incorrect takeout rates involving NYRA last December. United Tote has taken full responsibility for incorrect payouts for the Keeneland races, and NYRA is not under scrutiny for the incident.  

wallee More than 1 year ago
michael scott More than 1 year ago
This is exactly why Betfair and exchange wagering makes perfect sense. Give us the better exact odds without the fluctuations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Tote companies are paid a small fraction of the total wagering handle. They don;t benefit from higher takeout, lower takeout, higher payouts or lower payouts. There is absolutely zero motivation for a tote company to do anything except that which will increase handle.
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
Am waiting for DRF to actually explain with examples POOL PRICING ! It's why i hardly play anymore.
Magic 8 Ball More than 1 year ago
Horse racing is the only industry that does not police it's banks. Letters to the Editor Feb. 5 By DRF Readers Email Comments PrintEmail Owner hears ­announcer's cry loud and clear In his Jan. 29 letter to the Racing Form, "Track voice calls for accurate closing odds," Michael Wrona took exception to the constant late changes to the final odds displayed on the tote boards and the archaic systems that are used in racing, specifically California racing. Mr. Wrona deserves the respect and adulation of all racing fans as he takes on the establishment in racing and probably risks his job. He remains a bright light in an industry of dim bulbs. The California Racing Board ignores the problems of late board changes or dealing with trainers who have numerous drug infractions. I am part-owner of a filly named Ninth Infantry. Last year during the running of a race her odds dropped from 16-1 to 9-1. None of the other horses' odds seemed to reflect this huge change in odds. The change showed on the television screens as it occurred about a quarter-mile into the race. We contacted the racing board and questioned what happened. We were given an interview with a board representative, who basically said that it takes 10 seconds for the odds board to reflect the late money that comes in from the different satellite wagering offices. They said this change took 17 seconds and they were not sure of what happened with the missing seven seconds but were satisfied that everything was okay. Racing has high-paid executives whose main goal seems to protect their positions by creating an illusion that nobody cheats, and the big gamblers who have access to the tote boards are all honest, and racing is in great shape and we should all watch the television series "Luck." What we need is a commissioner like baseball and football have to create and preserve the integrity of the game. How about Michael Wrona after he gets fired? Sandy Weinstock - Sherman Oaks, Calif. Unpredictable prices cause for alarm Kudos to Michael Wrona for criticizing the audacious mutuel fluctuations at Golden Gate Fields, although it may cost him his job. I have lived in Northern California most of my adult life, and have attended racetracks in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Southern California. Lately, I have quit betting Golden Gate because of getting shorted on the mutuels. A few months back, I wagered on a horse who went off at 7-1 and got a $7.60 mutual! This is ridiculous, and bettors shouldn't stand for it. Tim Ford - Oakland, Calif.
skip More than 1 year ago
What? Aren't the payouts the same for every outlet in the country. The only I know of where prices would be different would be ny otb which has a surcharge. didn't bettors notice they were receiving less than the posted payoffs? why would it take 10 races to see the discrepancy?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Remind me to play that Turfway pick 4. 14% is pretty good.
Loise More than 1 year ago
Ever watch a race and see the odds plunge down on the horse in front by 7 lengths? Happens every day. How can odds change right near the finish line? Why is it always the winner whos odds plummet? How is this allowed to happen? Racing is shrouded with cheating,rix fixing,drugging and the worst of all Paramutuel tampering. but--once again nobody cares becuase the theory is that all horseplayers are degenerates. As long as the states get their tax monies they couldnt care less.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've never seen a horses odds drop near the finish line in my life and I've been to the track 10,000 times. It does NOT happen every day. If you think racing is fixed then don't bet on it. simple as that. Are you such a gambling addict that you have to bet on races you think are fixed?
Magic 8 Ball More than 1 year ago
Annonymous--what tracks do you watch?..lol you rookie Odds plunge every day and even worse in the exacta pools--AFTER the horses have crossed the line. http://www.drf.com/news/letters-editor-feb-5
Steve More than 1 year ago
A crime has taken place. United tote has a serious history of fraud . I wish some law firm would file a suit against them. These are the folks people trust with their bets? You can bet your life the pari mutuel pools are past posted too.I would guess it's some insiders ..File fraud charges .. Where's the horse players association? Who is policing the pari mutuels? United Tote is a joke and Horse racing goes along with it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm sure there's language in the contract that keeps UT from being sued when stuff like this happens. It's not a crime either. What about the peole that hit the pick 4 and got paid MORE than they should have?
Candy Blumfield More than 1 year ago
Racing is fixed in every department. From the jockeys to trainers and pari mutuels. I pray each day racing dies.
Virgin Queen More than 1 year ago
Candy stick 2 playing with *Dolls* VQ
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
than why are you on this web site? You really pray that racing dies? You don't have anything better to pray for? Most people pray for peace or for mouths to be fed, but you pray for horse racing to die?