NYSGC Doubles Rice's 'Improper Practices' Fine to $100K

Linda Rice | Sarah Andrew

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The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) on Tuesday fined trainer Linda Rice $100,000 in a re-adjudication of her “improper practices” case that has persisted at the commission level and in the New York courts for more than two years.

In 2021, the NYSGC fined Rice $50,000 and revoked her license for three years after investigating claims that Rice received favorable treatment from the New York Racing Association (NYRA) and that the racing office was releasing to her the names and past performances of horses that had already been entered in races, giving her an unfair advantage.

The NYSGC initially had alleged that Rice had paid racing officials in exchange for the information, but that bribery charge–which Rice had denied–was later dismissed by the commission.

On June 8, 2023, the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled that the three-year banishment imposed by the NYSGC was “entirely unwarranted.”

But that same court also upheld the commission's determination that the “improper practices” rule had been violated, and ordered the matter back to the NYSGC to reassess the penalty “with the constraint that any reassessed penalty cannot contain a license revocation.”

At the Oct. 3 monthly meeting, NYSGC chair Brian O'Dwyer read into the record a brief explanation of Rice's revamped penalty.

As per the NYSGC's custom, the commissioners did not discuss or debate the matter in an open-public session prior to voting upon it. Their voting happened prior to the start of the meeting and O'Dwyer only reported a summary of the decision.

“The appellate division agreed with the Commission's findings that trainer Rice had blatantly broke the rules of racing by conspiring with others to choose the optimal races for her horses. The appellate division determined, however, that any revocation was unwarranted,” O'Dwyer said.

“We respectfully disagree with that decision, but are constrained by law to follow it. The original fine of $50,000 was predicated on a three-year revocation. Since that is now not extant, we have decided, on the basis of the record, [to] increase the fine to $100,000. And we therefore impose a penalty on trainer Rice of $100,000. The vote was unanimous in that regard,” O'Dwyer said.

Rice did not respond to messages requesting comment prior to deadline for this story, but her attorney, Andrew Turro, indicated to TDN in an email that Rice is ready to move on.

“I'm very, very happy that this is over for Linda and that she can now focus on what she loves and does best,” Turro wrote.

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