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Friday, July 1, 2016

Whose Money is it Anyway?

Don't you love it when tracks hijack the horseplayers money in carryovers and uses it for another purpose?  Churchill Downs has recently been criticized for doing so and the latest track to decide to do it is the Meadowlands.

You may be asking, "What?  When has the Meadowlands ever done that?".  Well they are doing it on Meadowlands Pace night by having a"'mandatory payout" Jackpot Super High-Five with the carryover from the last race Super High-Five worth $267,769, following the latest appropriation by WEG on their mandatory payout on North America Cup night.

By now, you are probably wondering, "What the heck is he talking about?".  The rules of the Jackpot Super High-Five is the jackpot (i.e, carryover) is only paid out when there is only one winning ticket with the correct order of the top five finishers.  What they are doing on Meadowlands Pace night is transferring the carryover from this wager and in effect seeding the pool of another wager, a regular pentafecta, one where multiple winning tickets share in the pool, with money horseplayers have been contributing to by playing the last-race exotic.  Is there anything in the rules for the wager which says the track can do this?

Now I realize in the grand scheme of things, there are bigger fish to fry when it comes to harness racing issues.  I would concur, but......

How would you feel if you have been religiously playing the Jackpot Super High-Five all-meet long and you have had a few times had the winning combination, alas, with other players?  Sure you would have won money, but the carryover was not to be yours.  It would be one thing if it was the end of the meet and they had to payout the carryover; that's in the rules and you know (or should) it.  But to have others win the pot you have been aiming for a good part of the meet and have it paid out to multiple players, maybe punters who only have the first four horses picked out?  To make things worse, people who haven't played the wager at all (not contributed to the carryover) are going to swoop in and try to grab the pot you have contributed to.  All of a sudden you are not feeling so good are you?

Making matters worse, this appropriation is being done with the full knowledge and approval of the NJRC.  Well, so much for showing how much they hold punters in high esteem.

If tracks are going to continue doing these "mandatory payout" events, I would suggest the rules be changed where there is a "mandatory payout" anytime the carryover reaches $250,000; this way you may have more than one mandatory payout night each meet and at least people who are playing your jackpot wagers know ahead of time what will happen if the wager isn't hit after a period of time.

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