06/06/2012 3:10PM

Twinspires adjusts accounts affected by NYRA takeout error


Twinspires.com, the largest account-wagering company in the U.S., has adjusted the account balances of its customers who were affected by the incorrect takeout rate that the New York Racing Association applied to many of its superexotic wagers over a 15-month period in 2010 and 2011.

The company said that it worked with its bet-processing supplier, United Tote, “to recalculate payoffs on 284,974 wagers from the 22,574 twinspires.com players” that were affected when NYRA incorrectly applied a 26 percent takeout rate to trifecta, superfecta, pick three, pick four, and Grand Slam bets during the period, rather than 25 percent, as required by law. The additional funds were deposited to player accounts on Monday, twinspires.com said.

Jeremy Clemons, the vice president of marketing for twinspires.com, which is owned by Churchill Downs Inc., declined to provide a total amount for the adjustments. He described the total as “significant.”

During the time that NYRA incorrectly applied the takeout rate, it had published that it was applying a 26 percent rate, and that rate was also contained in the simulcast contracts the association had with betting sites. As a result, account-wagering companies were not technically required to adjust the payments.

However, many customers of account-wagering sites had complained about the error after it was caught late in 2011. Clemons said that twinspires.com was “listening to the marketplace” in adjusting the balances of the affected customers.

“At the end of the day, we thought it was the right thing to do,” Clemons said. “Also, we did end up with a share of the overcharging.” Betting sites retain the difference between what they pay for signals and the takeout rate, so a higher takeout rate provides more revenue.

Under pressure from state regulators, NYRA adjusted the balances of the customers of its own account-wagering service several months ago and sought out players who had filed tax forms on winning wagers. In total, NYRA paid out an additional $594,508 in restitution.

XpressBet, another large account-wagering service, plans to make adjustments to customer accounts starting next week, according to Ron Luniewski, the company’s president. XpressBet is owned by the Stronach Group. Luniewski said the adjustments would affect approximately 9,500 accounts.

Officials for Television Games Network, which is owned by Betfair, did not respond to requests for comment by late afternoon on Wednesday about its own plans for the NYRA wagers.