The New York Gaming Commission will vote on Monday on a proposed set of new rules that would allow Thoroughbred tracks in the state to offer jackpot-type wagers that have proved popular but controversial at other tracks in the U.S.
The proposed rules, which were posted on the New York Gaming Commission website on Thursday, would allow New York Thoroughbred tracks to offer a pick six bet that would pay out the entire pool only if a single ticket has the correct sequence of six winners. If a single ticket does not have the correct sequence, the “major share” of the pool would be distributed 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.
Contacted after the rules had been posted on the website, an official for the New York Racing Association, which operates Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga, said NYRA did not have immediate plans to add a jackpot pick six, but that it wanted the option of adding the bet to the wagering menu in the future. The official noted that the public would have 60 days to comment on the rules if the gambling commission approves the proposal at Monday’s meeting.
“To add wagers in New York is a very thorough process,” said David O’Rourke, NYRA’s chief revenue officer. “This wager is popular, we wanted to have the optionality, but we have absolutely not come to a decision on when or if we would implement it.”
Pick-six jackpot bets have proved enormously popular at some tracks, especially those in South Florida, where the wager had its major-track debut and is called the Rainbow 6. The wagers have in some cases generated enormous carryovers and one-day handles, particularly on days in which the wager is facing a mandatory payout.
But many horseplayers have been critical of the bets as well. That has led some tracks to tweak the formula, such as at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and Santa Anita Park in Southern California, where the majority of the pool is paid out according to traditional pick six rules but a small portion, 15 percent, is withheld each day for a carryover that is only available in the event of a single winner.
The New York rules do not specify any percentages that are to be withheld from the pools, aside from the designation of the “major share” and “minor share.” The rules also do not include a specific minimum wager. The minimum wager for a pick six at NYRA tracks is $2, as it is at Southern California tracks. The minimum bet for the Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream Park and several other tracks owned by Gulfstream’s parent company, The Stronach Group, is 20 cents.
On Wednesday, bettors wagered $2.5 million into the pick six at Belmont Park while chasing a carryover of $326,010.
“Obviously, the $2 pick six, there’s a tradition behind it, there’s a strong group of customers that want to play this bet and we need to understand, are we going to get more business because we’re the last man standing on this type of bet,” O’Rourke said. “We just need to have the optionality. … It’s just responsible business to have it on the sidelines.”
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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