02/01/2007 12:00AM

Aqueduct signal blocked for some sites


Dozens of wagering sites across the United States were prohibited from offering betting on the signal from Aqueduct racetrack beginning on Thursday because New York's regulatory board had not completed a review of Aqueduct's simulcast contracts, according to racetrack officials and regulators.

Sites affected on Thursday included the account-wagering operators AmericaTab, BrisBet, and XpressBet, along with offtrack betting parlors in Connecticut and Mexico, casinos in Atlantic City, and the Lewiston, Maine, wagering hub, which processes bets on behalf of a number of high-rolling offshore rebate shops. The OTB's in Connecticut and the Atlantic City casinos were expected to be able to take the signal again on Friday, said Bill Nader, an executive vice president for the New York Racing Association. But it was unclear how long the other sites would be shut off, with estimates ranging from several days for domestic sites to longer for international sites, according to the officials.

Nader said the sites were shut off because NYRA asked the state's Racing and Wagering Board at the beginning of the year to approve all of its simulcast contracts individually, rather than as a whole. The simulcast contracts expired on Jan. 31, so any site without an approved contract on Thursday had to be shut off.

"In fairness to the board, there were hundreds of contracts to approve, and they got a lot done in the time they had," Nader said. "Hopefully this is just a one-day or two-day issue for a lot of these."

Dan Toomey, a spokesman for the board, said that the board had been unable to approve all of the contracts because NYRA had failed to provide the board with information on some of the contracts until last week.

"There's a great deal of information that must be reviewed, and NYRA would have done itself a big favor if we didn't get this information one week ago," Toomey said. "Our staff is giving its full attention to the contracts, and we hope to have all the contracts approved soon."

Nader declined to comment about why NYRA asked the board to approve all of the contracts individually. Toomey said the decision was made by NYRA, but would not comment on why. "That's a question for NYRA," Toomey said.