08/02/2005 11:00PM

Hastings bets into U.S. pool

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Beginning Thursday, patrons at Hastings will be able to bet directly into the Emerald Downs mutuel pools, marking the first time that Canadians have been able to bet directly into Thoroughbred pools in the United States. Betting into some harness racing pools began last month.

Previously, Hastings ran a separate pool for Emerald, which averaged roughly $13,000 a day.

Management at Hastings is hoping that betting directly into a much larger pool will increase the local handle significantly.

"It's an important precedent," said Chick Keeling, a vice president of Great Canadian Gaming, which owns Hastings. "Our fans know the product at Emerald, plus we have a lot of local horses that run down there."

Keeling said that being able to bet directly into pools at tracks in California, New York, Kentucky, and Florida is "our major goal," but that "right now there's no time line for that to happen."

Keeling said Arlington Park would be the next track that Canadians would be able to bet directly.

"It looks like Aug. 10 will be the first day for Arlington," said Keeling.