- Steven Crist, writing in the Daily Racing Form, rips Empire Racing for proposing an increase in the takeout, and exposes the lie behind their stated logic for doing so. Noting that Excelsior and NYRA both intend to keep the rate as low as is feasible, Crist writes that Empire struck a radically different note:
"Empire stated they would request an increase of take-out on regular and multiple wagers to place New York on par with the national averages for such wagers. This, they stated, would be a short-term test of two years."He goes on to explain that, though New York's takeout on straight and multiple bets are a bit lower than that of Kentucky and California, its rate on exotics is significantly higher - 25% as opposed to 19% and 20.68% respectively. If you blend the rates and give proportional weight to multiples, the rates are actually comparable.
Empire's position is not merely wrongheaded. It is based on a familiar and deceptive characterization of New York's takeout rates that is trotted out every time someone wants to put more of the public's money into his own pockets.
So Empire's claim that a takeout increase on straight and multiple bets is needed to "place New York on par with national averages" is simply false. Even more disturbing, though, is the very idea that a takeout increase is necessary or even appropriate when New York racing is on the verge of swimming in money from slot machines at Aqueduct and perhaps Belmont. Excelsior and NYRA seem to understand that this is an opportunity to experiment with lower takeout rather than soaking the overtaxed betting public even further.
Horseplayers will not find any comfort in contemplating where Empire's higher grab of their payoffs would ultimately be going - to the prominent racing companies and individuals who bought ground-floor shares in the enterprise at a nominal fee and stand to make windfall profits if awarded the franchise.