NYRA CEO and Chief Counsel Fired Amidst Betting Scandal

Robin JutkiewiczCorrespondent IIIMay 4, 2012

ELMONT, NY - JUNE 11:  Jose Valdivia, Jr. on Ruler On Ice #3 takes the track during the running of the 143rd Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 11, 2011 in Elmont, New York.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

What a difference one percent makes.

Today, the New York Racing Association announced it has fired president/CEO Charles Hayward and VP/chief counsel Patrick Kehoe. The firing comes in the middle of a state investigation involving approximately $8.6 million in winnings that apparently never made it into bettors' pockets, according to The New York Daily News.

The state of New York believes NYRA played fast and loose with monies owed to bettors by subtracting overinflated, and therefore improper, fees known as “take out fees,” all with a full understanding that too much was being deducted.

NYRA was taking 26 percent per winning ticket.

NYRA franchise racetracks affected include Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga. No word on what remedies, if any, can or will be taken to get the money back to winning bettors. Unless they can be traced, they may be out of luck, so to speak.

The NYRA board made the firings public on the same day they were to report to state regulators. Due to breach of contract, the Franchise Oversight Board could choose to take over the franchise completely, leaving the NYRA out in the cold.

The news could not come at a worse time for NYRA, just five weeks before the running of the Belmont Stakes. For those planning on tossing a couple of dollars on the third leg of the Triple Crown, do not fear. As of December of 2011, the rate returned to the proper 25 percent.

More information regarding this situation will follow as the story unfolds.