04/13/2006 12:00AM

Rebate site reinstated at Keeneland


Keeneland is continuing to block its signal to most offshore rebate outlets, a spokesman for Keeneland, Jim Williams, said on Thursday, although one domestic rebate site in North Dakota has been allowed back into the track's pools. The site, Lien Games in North Dakota, has been allowed to take bets on Keeneland's races because it "fulfilled the due diligence and provided the information we requested through the TRPB," or Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau. The TRPB is a racetrack-owned investigative agency. When asked whether other sites have failed to comply with the TRPB's requirements, Williams said, "It's safe to assume that."

In addition, Keeneland is continuing to allow Royal River Racing, a race book in South Dakota that is owned by the professional gambler Randy Gallo, to bet on its signal. Gallo said on Thursday that he complied with the TRPB's request for information in June, and that no racetracks have cut off signals to his operation.

Keeneland cut off its signal in 2005 to most rebate shops after federal prosecutors indicted 17 people on charges of running an illegal gambling ring for four years through five rebate operations. Since then, the TRPB has asked racetracks to demand that simulcasting outlets comply with a list of disclosure requirements before being allowed to take wagers on the tracks' races.

Lien Games, based in Fargo, N.D., operates off-track betting parlors in the state and a telephone-betting operation. It received its license at the end of 2003 after the former off-track betting operator in the state, Racing Services Inc., was seized by the state following an investigation into illegal gambling charges.

Williams said that all-sources handle through the first four days of the Keeneland meet is up 21 percent, from $27.5 million to $33.4 million. Handle numbers have been helped by the ability of Canadian horseplayers to bet directly into U.S. pools for the first time this year during a spring meet. Last year during the spring meet, Canadian sites wagered into separate pools.