03/02/2011 12:38AM

California betting error allowed wagers after Turf Paradise race went off


An operator error at a data center in Sacramento, Calif., caused betting to continue at some California simulcast locations for five minutes after the first race at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Ariz., on Jan. 26, although no bets placed after the start of the race were honored, the California Horse Racing Board said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The racing board conducted a month-long inquiry into the incident, in which bets from California were not merged with the host track, Turf Paradise, for that day’s first race.

The board said that “the problem was due to an error by an operator or operators” at the Quantum Data Center in Sacramento, where employees of Sportech, which provides tote services for California tracks and simulcast locations, did not follow procedures for linking the tote systems between the simulcast locations and Turf Paradise. Bets placed through account wagering sources on the race were conducted on a different system and not affected, the board said.

The first race at Turf Paradise began at 11:32:34 a.m., but pools at California tracks were not closed until 11:37:45. There were 86 bets worth $473 placed after the off time, all of which were refunded. There was $3,896 in legitimate bets placed before the race. Winning tickets from those bets were later paid to customers, by Sportech even though the bets were never comingled with Turf Paradise pools, the racing board said in its report. Not all California racetracks and simulcast locations were open for betting on Jan. 26, a Wednesday in which no live racing was conducted in the state.

In the statement, the racing board reported that correct security procedures were followed in the minutes after the mistake was realized, and that no illicit bets were cashed.