02/20/2007 12:00AM

Bet shop sues NYRA for funds


Lien Games, the North Dakota gambling supplier and rebate-shop operator, has filed a lawsuit against the New York Racing Association claiming that NYRA's debt to the company should be paid immediately.

NYRA filed bankruptcy late last year, and Lien Games is listed under its unsecured creditors for a debt of $1.6 million. Lien claims in its lawsuit, filed on Feb. 8 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, that the debt should be repaid immediately because the money was already distributed by Lien to winning bettors and did not constitute one of NYRA's debts because the money was part of a parimutuel pool.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court has twice denied Lien Games a request to have the debt repaid immediately. Philip Pierce, the lawyer for Lien, said the company had to file the lawsuit in the bankrupty court in order to air its legal issues because once a company has filed for bankruptcy, no civil cases can be brought against it except under the supervision of the bankruptcy court.

"This is the only venue to do this," Pierce said. "We simply want a fair hearing to argue that the winner's portion of a parimutuel pool belongs to bettors."

Pierce said he did not know if any bettors had not been paid off on winning wagers because of the debt.

Typically in simulcast settlements, tracks and betting outlets pay off the balance of funds on a schedule that ranges from every two weeks to every 30 days.