New reg would give horseplayers more time to bet

Apr 30, 2002 10:52 AM

Horseplayers will have more time to place last-second bets if state regulators approve new wagering rules this week.

Race books currently cut off betting as the last horse enters the gate. But with computer-driven technology, books have the ability to write tickets more quickly and keep writing those tickets right up to the exact start of the race. Computers automatically lock out new bets when the gate opens.

The new rule could mean millions more in wagers at Las Vegas books because, as any casual bettor knows, there can be lengthy delays at the gate. Balking or anxious horses sometimes must be pulled out and settled down before the race can begin. Sometimes, the entire gate is emptied. This time could now be used for betting.

The proposal, which is expected to win approval from the Gaming Control Board, was pushed by Las Vegas Dissemination.

"I see no possible objection to this. It’s a win-win situation,’’ said John Sullivan, vice president and general counsel for LVD.

In other action, the board will discuss new rules for multiple licensing of casinos.

Board member Scott Scherer said several large buyouts ”” notably Park Place-Hilton, MGM-Mirage, Harrah’s-Harveys and Randy Black’s control of the Mesquite market ”” have exposed shortcomings in the state’s merger regulations, which are almost 40 years old.

Concerns by the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice prompted Nevada regulators to seek ways to both broaden and streamline the investigative process.

Scherer said the panel wants the ability to examine neighboring markets in assessing the impact of casino combinations. "We want to consider things like the impact of Indian gaming,’’ he said.

Once introduced, the regulations will be opened to public comment.