Bettor's scheme makes big bucks, and it's legal
By DAN JOHNSON
Register Staff Writer
September 26, 2007
A bettor seems to have devised a clever scheme to beat the races at Prairie Meadows.
And it appears to be legal, with the only victims being off-shore betting sites that act as bookmakers.
The first two days of the harness meet had three races in which someone bet $1,000 to place or show on horses that figured to lose.
The apparent goal was to inflate the payoffs of the top finishers so the bettor could clean up with off-shore bookmaking sites. Those sites pay track odds, but the wagering is not commingled with track betting.
"The only logical spin I can put on this is that whoever is doing this must have additional accounts with off-shore sites," said Mark Loewe, Prairie Meadows' director of mutuels. "So, they're laying $1,000 off here, and betting $2,000 or $3,000 somewhere else."
Why Prairie Meadows? Because the harness betting pools are so small that a $1,000 wager can dramatically shift the odds.
In Monday's third race, KB Amy went off at odds of 51-1. There was $8 bet to win on her, $2 to place, and $1,010 to show. The entire nine-horse field drew $1,210 in show wagering, in which bets are won on horses finishing third or better.
KB Amy finished a distant fourth while 2-5 favorite Aura Lee Triumph won. Aura Lee Triumph paid $2.80 for a $2 win wager, $2.20 to place and $12.60 to show.
Had the bettor also bet $2,000 to show on an Internet site on Aura Lee Triumph, he would have gotten back $25,200. (ED. NOTE: A blog reader alerted me of this obvious error by the author of the article. $2000 to show at an internet bookmaker site would have yielded $12,600 not the 25k number)
"From our standpoint, the ($1,000) bet is made legally," said Jack Ketterer, executive administrator for the Iowa racing and Gaming Commission. "It's up to the off-shore sites to decide whether they take bets on the races."
It's not costing Prairie Meadows bettors anything - in fact, they're getting back more money because of the $1,000 being lost on losing horses.
Who loses? The off-shore betting sites in Costa Rica and elsewhere that take betting on races without tracks' permission. Tracks have been fighting the sites, which offer rebates to lure heavy bettors away from tracks, but have been powerless to stop them.
Ketterer said the practice has happened before.
"When simulcasting started in the early '80s, they started doing it in Las Vegas with greyhound racing," he said. "At that time, they weren't commingling betting. They'd bet a couple hundred dollars to show at the track on the worst dog of the night. Then they'd bet all over Las Vegas at the 'books. But the racebooks caught on to it pretty quick."
Discussion about the betting situation began on KXNO's afternoon sports radio show earlier this week.
Even though the betting at Prairie Meadows is legal, Loewe said he is concerned the track will be tarnished.
"We do care, because there's the perception that something's not right," he said.
"The average person is not going to say, 'It's an off-shore rebate shop.' They're going to see Prairie Meadows and say something's fishy."
While the 2006 Internet gambling bill prohibited online casino gambling, it exempted interstate betting on horse racing, which was legalized under a previous law.
The Prairie Meadows $1,000 bets are coming in as two $500 wagers from legal account services, one through Youbet.com, the other through AmericaTab.
The other bets came Saturday. In the sixth race, Sierra No Angel had $17 bet to win, $14 to place and $1,040 to show. She was a distant fifth and Jazz Brand, the 7-10 favorite, paid $12.60 to show. Runner-up Coop's Class paid $21.60 to show and third-place finisher Pro paid $48.
There was no show betting on the fifth race, but Khanboy, who finished last, had $1,040 to place wagered on him. Panaramic Art, the 3-5 favorite, won and only paid $3 to place, but runner-up No Road Parking paid $15.20.
Ketterer and Loewe expect the off-shore sites to react soon.
"It won't take them long," Ketterer said.
Unreal: Sealy Hill DQ decision is reversed. She gets the Triple Tiara. The Stewards had it right the first time according my unbiased opinion. Reasons for the reversal will be released shortly.
Standardbred owners support Crime Stoppers
Great Lakes Down upcoming meet may not happen.
Front Porch Digital to manage Woodbines film archives
California may force ADW's to share content in the near future. This could be great for horse players.
Virginia horsemen and Colonial Downs claim Youbet is operating illegally in their state
Lottery ticket being used as a mystery novel bookmark turns out to be an $8.8 million dollar winner for an Alberta pipeline worker.
Assiniboia handle up 8% for the meet
Woodbine Pick 7 carryover is $48,000. Today's card offers a lot of good looking low priced horses so it has a good chance of being won today.
$55,000 guaranteed pool available tonight at Mohawk for the Pick 7
NFL PICKS WEEK 4
I suffered my first loss last week thanks to Denver. My season record is now 7-1-1 against the spread. Not bad at all. I've never seen a week with so many home underdogs, and I never lay points on the road, I just can't, it is one of my weaknesses (or strengths depending how you look at it). So this is going to be a very tough week to pick winners, but I will give it my best shot:
I like the Bills getting 3 and a half against the Jets. The Bills are not that bad a team, or maybe they are. Still take the Bills.
I like Minny getting 2 at home against Green Bay. Green Bay is 500 team tops. Way too much media for Brett Favre. They aren't that good.
San Francisco gets 2 against Seattle; go Niners. Didn't they have the Seahawks number last year?