Stewart’s Shops to offer NYRA Bets gift cards

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The New York Racing Association has brought back its NYRA Bets gift cards for a limited time during the holidays. The cards, available in $50 denominations, were popular when first introduced last summer. But racing officials said they were also perfect Christmas stocking stuffers for recipients who are racing fans.

Each card features a unique PIN that, once entered at the racing fan’s NYRA Bets accounts, is immediately available for betting. Recipients who don’t currently have a NYRA Bets account can register for one for free. The cards can be purchased for cash at Stewart’s; credit cards aren’t accepted. And the cards don’t expire.

NYRA Bets accounts can be used to place bets at hundreds of racetracks worldwide, as well as at Aqueduct Race Track, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course. The accounts can also be used for betting on the 2021 Triple Crown series.

“It’s a perfect stocking stuffer for any horse racing fan and just one of the many ways that Stewart’s makes your life easier,” said Gary Dake, Stewart’s Shops president. The cards, available at Stewart’s Shops in Saratoga County beginning Friday, will be on sale for a limited time only.

“We were thrilled beyond all expectations with the success of the NYRA Bets Gift Cards which we first introduced this summer in partnership with Stewart’s Shops,” said NYRA Bets President Tony Allevato. “We are excited to make these gift cards available as a limited time holiday offer for horse racing fans who may use them to bet this winter or during next year’s Saratoga meet. We thank our fans for their continued support and wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.”

The NYRA Bets website made its debut in August 2016, replacing the NYRA Rewards platform that limited betting to New York state residents. Before that, out-of-state residents had to place online bets through third-party sites.

NYRA would prefer that fans use its platform, because each NYRA Bets wager is about three times as valuable to it as the ones made on other platforms.

The gift cards were popular last summer. When Stewart’s and NYRA teamed up, they expected to sell about 2,500 cards. By Labor Day, they had sold 12,000.

The pandemic, which kept horse racing fans from the historic Saratoga Race Course during last summer’s meet, may have helped boost online betting. With several Covid-19 vaccines and treatments showing promising results, NYRA officials no doubt hope Saratoga will once again be open to the public.

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