08/28/2005 11:00PM

New York rule affects BC betting

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Ten rebate shops will likely not be allowed to offer parimutuel bets on the Breeders' Cup this year at Belmont Park because of a rule passed by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board prohibiting state racetracks from doing business with the shops.

The rule, which was approved by the board in January after a federal indictment accused an illegal gambling ring of betting $200 million through four rebate shops, would restrict betting on the Breeders' Cup at a time when the organization is attempting to dramatically increase handle on the event, to $200 million 2010. Last year, handle on the Breeders' Cup was $121 million.

Ken Kirchner, the senior vice president of product development for Breeders' Cup Ltd., said on Monday that racing and wagering board officials have said the rule will apply to the Breeders' Cup when the event is held at Belmont Park on Oct. 29. Kirchner said that the 10 sites targeted by the rule took $7 million in bets on the Breeders' Cup last year, or about 5.8 percent of the $121 million total.

"We're being told that we cannot allow them into the pools," Kirchner said. "Whether that will change by the time we run is up in the air."

Racing and wagering board officials did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

The New York Racing Association, which owns Belmont Park, had cut off the 10 sites prior to the board approving the rule, citing the indictment. Only four of the sites that were cut off were mentioned in the indictment, and none has been charged with a crime.

The sites named in the regulatory order were Racing and Gaming Services in St. Kitts; Lakes Region Greyhound Park in New Hampshire; Euro Off-Track on the Isle of Man; an operation run by the Tonkawa tribe in Oklahoma; a Native American operation in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; International Racing Group and Elite Turf Club in Curacao; Excelsior Casino in Aruba; and Capital Sports Ltd. and Darwin All Sports in Australia.

Kirchner said that Breeders' Cup had revised policies this year about allowing offshore betting sites to take wagers on the event in the wake of the indictment, and that some of the sites that have been cut off by the rule may not have been allowed to offer the races this year without complying with efforts by Breeders' Cup officials to scrutinize the shops' operations.

"The indictment certainly raised the issue of who these people are and how they are doing business," Kirchner said. "We would only let someone in if they were running their businesses the right way."

Breeders' Cup charges many offshore sites and rebate shops a fee approaching 10 percent of handle. The rate is believed to be among the highest charged by any racing company in the United States.