Updated on 09/17/2011 12:09PM

North Dakota switches licensees


The North Dakota Racing Commission voted unanimously on Monday to deny a simulcasting license for 2004 to Racing Services Inc., the company that was indicted on Dec. 18 by state and federal prosecutors.

In a separate vote, the five-member commission voted unanimously to award the state's sole license to Lien Games, a supplier of gambling materials to charity sites in the state.

Racing Services Inc., which had held the license in North Dakota for 14 consecutive years, was indicted last week on charges of running an illegal gambling operation, money laundering, conspiracy, and illegal wire transmission. Also indicted were Racing Services' founder and owner, Susan Bala; the company's vice president, Raymundo Diaz; and Global Content Inc., a company founded by Diaz.

Lawyers for Bala and Diaz have said the two are not guilty. The pair entered not guilty charges at an arraignment on Dec. 18.

Racing Services' current license expires on Dec. 31, 2003. According to some reports, Ken Lien, the owner of Lien Games, told commissioners at the Monday meeting that his company would be operational by Jan. 1, 2003.

The licensed simulcast service provider in North Dakota is allowed to negotiate simulcast contracts to provide signals to 10 charitable off-track betting sites in the state and run the sites' gambling operations.

RSI built its business over the past five years by luring high-rolling gamblers who received rebates on their handle. Many of the high rollers stopped betting with the service after state and federal investigators began raising questions about an unpaid tax bill and nearly $100 million in unreported handle.