05/06/2004 12:00AM

Oregon operations booming


Account-wagering companies based in Oregon had their best first-quarter handle numbers yet in the first three months of 2004, according to figures compiled by the Oregon Racing Commission.

AmericaTab, Television Games Network, and Youbet.com posted double-digit increases in handle for the first quarter, despite a blackout of signals from Magna Entertainment Corp. Youbet.com, in fact, had the best quarter ever posted by any account-wagering company based in Oregon, taking in $70.5 million in wagers, an increase of 35 percent over the first quarter last year.

TVG took in $42.5 million in bets, up 68 percent from last year's first quarter. AmericaTab, a collection of Internet sites that responded to the Magna blackout by awarding rebates on some of its signals, took in $26.7 million in bets, an increase of 28 percent.

Magna pulled its signals from several account-wagering companies at the end of 2003 in order to drive business to its own account-wagering company, XPressBet. The signals included the two most popular winter tracks, Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream.

Under pressure from California regulators, Magna later reached a deal that allowed Youbet.com to offer the signals from its California tracks - Santa Anita, Golden Gate, and Bay Meadows. Youbet was the only account-wagering operator other than XpressBet to offer Magna's California tracks.