03/12/2003 12:00AM

California lifts Idaho ban


The California Horse Racing Board has rescinded an order that prohibited tracks in the state from sending their signals to a Native American casino in Idaho, saying the casino is now in compliance with California law.

The board had accused the casino, located in Coeur d'Alene, of taking telephone bets from California residents. California law prohibits any betting operation that is not licensed by the state from taking account wagers.

Roger Licht, the chairman of the racing board, said Wednesday the Coeur d'Alene casino has put controls in place that will prohibit any California residents from placing account wagers. Officials of the casino had worked with the board on complying with the law since the signals were blocked March 7.

Licht also said that the Idaho operation had attempted to hide betting by its California customers by diverting the players to phone lines going through the casino's hotel desk before being transferred to the phone-betting operation. He said the casino has stopped the practice.

Officials of the Coeur d'Alene operation did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.