The New York Gaming Commission on Monday approved a proposed set of rules that would allow the New York Racing Association to offer a jackpot-type pick six bet, a wager that has become increasingly prevalent at U.S. tracks.
The rules, which are now subject to a 60-day public-comment period, would allow NYRA to set aside a portion of the pick six pool for a payout that would be awarded only if there is a single winning ticket. Many racetracks have converted their pick six wagers to the jackpot-style bet, though NYRA has so far resisted, and a NYRA official said last week that it does not currently have plans to introduce the wager but prefers to have the “optionality” to offer the bet in the future.
Under the rules, if no ticket has the correct pick six sequence, NYRA would be able to award the “major share” of the pool to “those who selected the first-place finisher in the greatest number of pick-six jackpot races,” with the remainder, the “minor share,” added to the carryover.
Jackpot-style pick six bets were first introduced in South Florida, and since then they have been added to racetracks on nearly every major racing circuit. The wagers differ in some jurisdictions in the amount that is set aside in each pool for the jackpot, and by the minimum wager allowed.
The bets have generated enormous carryovers and payouts, and they have proved immensely popular when the carryovers reach in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, some bettors are highly critical of the structure of the bets, and the news that the rules would be considered generated some backlash on social media from bettors who prefer New York’s traditional pick six structure.
Also at the meeting, the commission added a provision to a rule limiting purses in claiming races to double the claiming price that would allow racetracks to apply for exemptions to the rule on a meet-by-meet basis. NYRA supports the provision because it wants to raise purses in its lower-priced claiming races in order to compete with purses in neighboring jurisdictions, particularly Pennsylvania.
The 2-to-1 limit was first approved in 2012 as part of a handful of measures considered by the gambling commission during an investigation into a spate of fatalities at Aqueduct racetrack. At the time, the commission said that rapid run-ups in purses at Aqueduct had incentivized trainers to enter unsound horses to race in claiming races.
Dr. Scott Palmer, the commission’s equine medical director, told the commission that a number of other measures have allowed the commission to better monitor horses for soundness since 2012, and he said he supported the approval of the measure.
“We’ve made important strides in this area over the last six years,” Palmer said.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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