Coast phone bets on hold

Jul 23, 2002 8:40 AM

A "misunderstanding" has pulled the plug on Coast Casinos’ race book phone accounts.

Gaming regulators ordered the shutdown after they determined that the phone accounts were in violation of state law.

"Only pagers can be used, and Coast wasn’t using them for pari-mutuel action,’’ enforcement chief Keith Copher told GamingToday.

"It was a misunderstanding of the law,’’ he added. "They thought that race bets could be handled differently than sports bets.’’ Pagers have been in use statewide for two years.

Coast is now scrambling to issue pagers to thousands of regular horse bettors, but bookies said they do not know how quickly that distribution will happen. "In the meantime, we’ve closed all the (pari-mutuel) accounts,’’ one reported.

  Because there were no known security breaches or acceptance of out-of-state bets, Copher said no penalties were assessed. He said the enforcement division acted on a tip last week.

  "As far as we know, Coast was the only one out of compliance with the pager rule,’’ he said.