02/17/2006 1:00AM

Wagering security office planned

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Association of Racing Commissioners International and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association plan to cooperate on an office of wagering security that would be administered by the RCI and launched by July 1, officials of the two organizations said Friday.

The plan to launch the office within the RCI was discussed on Thursday afternoon when representatives from both organizations met in Lexington to explore ways in which the two groups could cooperate on wagering security efforts. The NTRA first proposed the establishment of an Office of Wagering Security in 2003, but progress has been slow.

Greg Avioli, executive vice president of the NTRA, said Friday that a partnership became viable because of the RCI's recent efforts to develop monitoring systems for bet-processing networks and its release this week of detailed model rules for wagering security.

"The clear intent of both the NTRA and RCI board representatives is that we should and can find a way to create an office of wagering integrity that would probably be housed within the RCI but operate in consultation with the NTRA," Avioli said.

The RCI is an umbrella group that represents state racing commissions. Both the RCI and the NTRA are based in Lexington.

The racing industry has been exploring ways to provide better security for bet-processing networks since the Breeders' Cup pick six scandal in 2002. With the exception of minor adjustments to the way wagering data is analyzed and processed, the efforts have not borne fruit.

The RCI became more aggressive in seeking reform late in 2005 under its new president, Ed Martin. In December, the RCI formed a partnership with a computer security firm to develop systems that would monitor bet-processing networks for suspicious wagers and unauthorized access, and this week, the RCI began circulating a 49-page document that contained recommendations for rules intended to shore up the network's security.

Martin said he is optimistic that both organizations' boards will approve the plan. He is scheduled to present a proposal to the NTRA board on March 1.