James Odato reports on the Times Union's Capitol Confidential site that the State Racing and Wagering Board is investigating whether NYRA has been improperly letting people bet on credit.
The examination was triggered by a Times Union inquiry to the Racing and Wagering board last month that [Franchise Oversight Chairman Robert] Megna found out about, according to Lee Park, a spokesman for the racing board.Oh man. This probe comes of course on the heels of the takeout overcharge and the accidental Lasix shot(s).
NYRA spokesman Dan Silver and President Charles Hayward have declined to take calls from the Times Union during the past month. After a reporter forwarded Megna’s letter to him, Silver wrote in an e-mail on Thursday that NYRA’s account wagering operation complies with the law and follows procedures approved by the racing board. [Capitol Confidential]
If NYRA is essentially letting betters wager on credit by accepting bets against underfunded accounts, Megna said, “this would represent significant mismanagement.”That's pretty strong language coming from Cuomo's budget director, and the chairman of an oversight board that has the power to recommend to the Racing and Wagering Board that NYRA's franchise be revoked. Here's the language from that particular clause from the franchise agreement:
The franchise oversight board shall notify the franchised corporation authorized by this chapter in writing of any material breach of the performance standards or repeated non-material breaches which the franchise oversight board may determine collectively constitute aNow it goes on to say that NYRA has "reasonable opportunity to cure" any such breaches and there would then be a hearing by the Board and besides, we don't want to jump to any conclusions about what NYRA has or has not done here, which is not really clear from Odato's post. But it's surely interesting to note that materiality is not even a threshold that has to be met if indiscretions and errors are "repeated," and this (if proven to be so) would be the third one to be exposed in a short period of time.
material breach of the performance standards.
As I've made clear here in the past, I'm not objective when it comes to NYRA - that's borne out of 40 well-satisfied years of going to their tracks (my constant complaining about the condition of Aqueduct notwithstanding). I like the people there; think that they are nice, smart, and truly passionate about the sport. I don't see any good whatsoever that would come out of some other entity - God knows who it would be - taking over the franchise here. But while it's surely true that people and companies make mistakes all the time, these guys are really under the microscope. NYRA apparently has no friends in Albany, least of all it would seem the powerful and sometimes cranky governor, whose very infrequent references to the association have been aloof, at best, with a not-so-vague tinge of hostility. So I think they better stop fucking up.
[UPDATE: NYRA responds....forcefully.]