Online wagering firm Youbet.com announced Thursday that monthly handle for January totaled more than $20 million, representing the largest monthly handle since the company began accepting wagers in 1997. The company also reached a new monthly high in the amount of wagering account deposits received. Chuck Champion, Youbet's president and CEO, said, "By offering our members new and exclusive product features, along with all the top racing content in one wagering platform TotalAccess, we have seen an increase in wagering by our members -- as well as a jump in new users. This resulted in a highly successful month. With a record-breaking fourth quarter and record handle and deposits for January, we are confident that our turnaround is in place. We have great momentum as we approach the Triple Crown months, which have traditionally been our best."The company also recently announced that its improved financial picture allowed the early retirement of notes totaling $750,000. These short-term loans were made to the company in March 2002 when current management assumed several senior executive positions and board seats. "The shareholders and employees of Youbet.com are grateful for the confidence and faith these investors showed in the future of our company and its new management team," Champion said. "Our goal in 2003 is to accomplish the same result for all of our investors." "Our financial position consistently improved over the year, allowing us to clean up our only debt ahead of schedule," Sproule added, We're happy our investors enjoyed this positive outcome."