NY horse racing hypocrisy


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

More American legislative inconsistency as NY Racing Board opens up online wagering

Trying to view the latest New York horse racing regulations as a glass half full, rather than one half empty, a new decision to allow horse racing wagers over the Internet is another acceptance of the Internet in the gambling context. But coming from a state famed for a zealously anti-online gambling DA and some spectacular sports betting busts, it all seems a little hypocritical.

This week the New York State Racing and Wagering Board accepted new regulations coming into force on January 22 that will allow the state's racetracks and offtrack betting facilities to take wagering via the Internet.

The regulation substantially broadens the current limits, under which "authorised entities" may only offer telephone wagering accounts at OTBs and racetracks in the state, because now account wagers can be made in person, via any telephone device including cell phones, the Internet or other electronic channels.

"I think this is a breakthrough," said Bill Nader, the New York Racing Association's senior vice president and chief operating officer. "If you're trying to introduce thoroughbred racing to a new audience, this is a step forward. Somebody under 35 would rather use their [personal computer] than the telephone. We think our website is going to be very attractive and very exciting."

Nader said NYRA is working aggressively to get everything in place to allow it to take Internet wagering by the launch date.

Ray Casey, president of New York City OTB, said he has been lobbying for Internet wagering for the past two years.

"To me," he said, "it's part of some of the tools that I thought were critical for not only OTB's future but horse racing in general: an ability to take advantage of technology and make horse racing more accessible for the X and Y generation."

Casey said he is hopeful that by the summer, all of the state's six OTB corporations could have a common website at which to wager. He said he has not ruled out becoming partners with an out-of-state provider if their technology is what he calls "best of breed."

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