The Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission (OHRC), in its January meeting, accepted an amendment to its rules of racing which will now increase protection of horseplayers placing jackpot-style bets. The action came following months of advocacy from the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation (TIF).
TIF became involved on behalf of horseplayer Jeffrey Arthur whose case was outlined in detail in a publication on April 16, 2020.
Arthur held the only ticket with the winning combination for a jackpot pick six wager on a sequence at Remington Park but was denied the payout as it was deemed a dead heat created two tickets and was not a unique wager, disqualifying him from the $35,145 jackpot.
Arthur’s bet included both horses in the dead heat in a single wager entered via his ADW account, but in conversations with TIF and Arthur’s attorney, Maggi Moss, Remington officials asserted the unusual outcome created two separate tickets and that they were justified in paying only two consolations totaling $8.920.80. That amount was the entirety of the net consolation pool that evening, which proved Arthur held the only ticket with all six winners.
“We are incredibly pleased with the outcome that the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission has accepted a change to its rules which will ensure all horseplayers are treated fairly and that no one will have to face the situation Mr. Arthur endured,” said Patrick Cummings, TIF’s Executive Director.
“Horseplayers are the backbone of our industry. Wagering from horseplayers is directly responsible for a significant portion of prize money which is shared by thousands of owners, trainers and jockeys, and will be needed more than ever as many jurisdictions face budgetary pressures and growing threats to decouple casino revenue sharing from purse accounts.”
Pending final adoption which is expected through the Oklahoma legislature and Governor, the OHRC has now clearly defined “unique wager,” utilizing a definition which is commonplace across other American jurisdictions but which was not within the state’s rules previously.
Upon full implementation, a customer whose ticket, entered at the minimum bet amount, is the only to select all winners with a “Pick N” jackpot bet, where “n” equals the number of races in the sequence, is entitled to the jackpot even if multiple winning combinations are created from the original ticket as the result of several scenarios. Those include: a late scratch being replaced by a post-time favorite, a dead-heat, or in cases where a race has been subject to a surface switch after the start of the sequence.
“TIF petitioned the Commission last summer and presented our proposal to their Rules Committee. What we thought was going to be fairly straightforward, as the definition of ‘unique wager’ is quite clear across many other jurisdictions, was anything but. Remington offered the OHRC Rules Committee a competing request which would have memorialized the situation which caused Mr. Arthur’s original problem. The Committee saw the issue with great clarity and the impact to customers."
“While TIF believes jackpot bets are wagers which should generally be avoided as they carry bloated daily effective takeout to the detriment of horseplayers, and greatly limit wagering churn to the detriment of horsemen, we are most pleased with the outcome and the protection this update provides horseplayers.”
The addition of "unique wager" to the rules was part of the OHRC's annual rules amendment process. Many other amendments were made as part of the review.