03/15/2004 12:00AM

Magna said to halt rebates


Officials at Magna Entertainment Corp. have told the Thoroughbred Owners of California that the company's account-wagering business, XpressBet, has stopped offering rebates to customers, representatives of the owners' group said Monday.

The owners received the assurance on Saturday during a meeting at Santa Anita with Magna's CEO, Jim McAlpine. The owners' group requested the meeting after it had asked Magna to stop awarding rebates through XpressBet because of concerns over the financial impacts of the practice.

Drew Couto, the executive director of the owners' group, would not comment Monday on details of the discussions. He did say, however, that McAlpine stressed that Magna had ceased what it had termed an "experiment" and had no plans to renew rebating in the near future.

Couto said that the owners expected to meet with Magna officials again within the next two weeks to continue discussion about Magna's s account-wagering policies.

McAlpine, who was said to be traveling on Monday, did not return a phone call.