reports surge in handle
By maddy
Magna Entertainment Corp., the parent company of Gulfstream and Santa Anita, pulled the tracks' signals from the Ohio-based AmericaTab, a collection of online wagering sites on Dec. 26. What could have been bad news, is now turning to AmericaTab's favour. The online operator, has reported that its handle has skyrocketed 50.5 percent after Magna's move .

'In the first 12 days of the year, AmericaTab's sites took in $3,172,564 in bets, compared with $2,106,872 for the same time period last year. We believe the growth could be because horseplayers, some of whom have organized a boycott of Magna, are voting with their betting dollars. Spurred in part by rebates offered by AmericaTab on selected signals, they have, in many cases, abandoned Gulfstream and Santa Anita for other less popular signals,' says Charlie Ruma, President of the service.

Magna's position has become a point of contention for many disgruntled horseplayers across the United States. A roster of players who said they will honor a boycott of Magna, collected at a new web site,, rose to 139 on Tuesday afternoon, gaining 59 players since Monday morning.

Industry observers believe Magna pulled the signals to generate business for its struggling Internet betting platform, XpressBet. Bulk e-mail ads from Magna to racing customers have urged horseplayers to open accounts with XpressBet to wager on Magna's tracks and receive free live streaming video of its races over the Internet.

Founded in 1994, AmericaTab is an account wagering provider licensed to operate by the Oregon Racing Commission. With the help of its technology partners, AmTote International and Bloodstock Research Information Services, AmericaTab offers secure interactive wagering with quick and easy access to the most complete and current racing information, including handicapping data.

Ruma claims there is a huge huge backlash against Magna right now, with players in the Beulah grandstand who previously played for Santa Anita and Gulfstream, and now lambasting Magna. Magna, the largest racetrack company in the U.S., pulled its signals from AmericaTab and other account-wagering sites Dec. 26, just as Santa Anita began its winter meet, shutting out thousands of home-based horseplayers from that track and Golden Gate Fields, which is also owned by Magna. When the Gulfstream meet opened Jan. 3, Magna also withheld that signal from account-wagering sites.

At the urging of California horsemen, Magna reached an alternate agreement with one account-wagering operator,, that allows Youbet to offer the signals from Santa Anita and Golden Gate - a Magna track near San Francisco - but no Magna tracks outside of California.

'The handle on Santa Anita is up nearly 20 percent over last year. Our customers are not opening new accounts with XpressBet to wager on Gulfstream. We see them playing other signals on our system, and not leaving to play something else,' confirms Chuck Champion, CEO of

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