04/17/2003 11:00PM

Youbet customers to get credits


Youbet.com has decided to award "promotional credits" to players who had winnings from trifecta bets on the Wood Memorial on April 12 deducted from their accounts, according to Youbet's chief executive officer, Chuck Champion.

The credits will equal the amount of winnings that were deducted, Champion said. Each winning Wood $2 trifecta bet was worth $83.50.

The winnings were deducted from some Youbet accounts after a communications failure earlier in the day caused the tote system to void the bets, Champion said. The tote system did not determine the bets should be voided until 12 hours after the Wood was run. As a result, all trifecta bets on the Wood were refunded.

The deductions enraged some Youbet customers. The refunds were issued after customers' accounts had already been debited or credited with the losses or winnings, and after some bettors had already wagered against their Wood winnings.

The transmission failure occurred because of unusual circumstances related to the creation of a special pick three pool at Aqueduct that day, totalizator company officials said. According to the officials, the AmTote hub in Oregon used by Youbet disconnected from the Autotote hub at Aqueduct because information regarding the special pick three had not been updated at the proper time.

The breakdown also prevented the transmission of trifecta wagers made by customers of Television Games Network, which also uses the Oregon hub. TVG officials credited customers who had winning trifecta tickets on the Wood as soon as the system called for refunds, according to TVG officials.

Steven Roden, the supervisor of parimutuels and licensing for the Oregon Racing Commission, which oversees the hub, said that Youbet was obligated to refund all the wagers on the Wood trifecta because the information about the bets had not been transmitted into the pools. Youbet was not obligated to honor any bets that were not commingled, Roden said.

"That's the rules of the game here," Roden said. "[The customer] assumes that when the bet is accepted, it's a valid bet. It's not. It's not [valid] until the bet is transmitted into the commingled pools, according to Oregon rules."

Champion said that Youbet was not responsible for deducting the winnings from the accounts. "The tote withdrew the money," Champion said. "They made the decision. It's not our mistake."

Asked why Youbet had not made an immediate decision to credit the accounts, as had TVG, Champion said, "I have no idea. I don't know what TVG has done."

Champion added that Youbet officials had been discussing awarding the credits ever since the deductions were made.