12/28/2006 12:00AM

New York to allow Internet wagering


The New York State Racing and Wagering Board has adopted rules and regulations that will allow the state's racetracks and offtrack betting facilities to take wagering via the Internet beginning Jan. 22.

Currently, authorized entities can only offer telephone wagering accounts at OTB's and racetracks throughout the state. The new rules allow account wagers to be made in person, via any telephone device including cell phones, via the Internet, or through other electronic means.

"I think this is a breakthrough," said Bill Nader, the New York Racing Association's senior vice president and chief operating officer. "If you're trying to introduce Thoroughbred racing to a new audience, this is a step forward. Somebody under 35 would rather use their [personal computer] than the telephone. We think our site is going to be very attractive and very exciting."

Nader said NYRA is working aggressively to get everything in place to allow it to take Internet wagering by the launch date.

Ray Casey, president of New York City OTB, said he has been lobbying for Internet wagering for the past two years.

"To me," he said, "it's part of some of the tools that I thought were critical for not only OTB's future but horse racing in general: an ability to take advantage of technology and make horse racing more accessible for the X and Y generation."

Casey said he is hopeful that by the summer, all of the state's six OTB corporations could have a common website at which to wager. He said he has not ruled out becoming partners with an out-of-state provider if their technology is what he calls "best of breed."

Currently, New York residents are prohibited from having Internet accounts with out-of-state providers such as Youbet, Brisbet, and TVG.