10/03/2006 12:00AM

Ohio horsemen cut off Youbet


The Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association on Tuesday rescinded its approval for the online horse race betting company Youbet.com to take wagers on races at Thistledown racetrack, citing missing payments to the purse account at the track.

Dan Theno, the executive director of the Ohio horsemen's association, said Tuesday that the horsemen's group learned of the missing payment several weeks ago. The group decided to rescind its approval after failing to get satisfactory answers from Youbet about why the payments had not been made. Theno said that the group believes that Youbet is involved in a dispute with XpressBet, a competing account-wagering company whose parent company, Magna Entertainment, owns Thistledown.

"There's some dispute going on between the two, and we're saying, 'You settle it on your own time,' " Theno said. "We want our purse money."

Officials from Youbet and XpressBet did not return phone calls on Tuesday.

Account-wagering companies typically pay so-called source-market fees to horsemen's groups to compensate for wagers made on out-of-state tracks by customers who live close to a racetrack currently running a race meet. The dispute centers on those source-market fees, Theno said.

In the first quarter of 2006, source-market fees from Youbet to the purse account at Thistledown was approximately $14,000, Theno said. The Ohio horsemen's group expected source-market fees for the second quarter to be approximately $25,000, but the payment was never made.

"It's not a lot of money, but every little bit counts when the tracks are trying to cut purses and dates," Theno said.