By Associated Press
Racing Services Inc. was denied a renewal of its North Dakota simulcasting license, amid worries about the future of a business that is facing federal felony charges and the possible seizure of its property.
The state Racing Commission on Monday voted instead to give the license to another Fargo company, Lien Games, a longtime seller of pull tabs and another gambling supplies to North Dakota charities. It takes effect Jan. 1.
Lien Games has never been involved in broadcasting horse races, but its owner, Ken Lien, said he was confident the company can take over quickly as the provider of simulcast signals to 10 off-track betting locations.
The five-member commission, which regulates North Dakota horse racing, unanimously rejected an appeal from the managing director of a Kentucky investment firm to allow Racing Services to keep its license.
The investor, Nelson Clemmens of Goshen, Ky., is negotiating to buy Racing Services and intends to operate the company under another name.
Racing Services and its former owner, Susan Bala of Fargo, face 12 federal felony charges for money laundering and conspiring to run an illegal gambling business. The company's vice president, Raymundo Diaz Jr., and Global Contact Inc., a company Diaz owns, were also indicted on the same charges last week.
The allegations stem from what federal authorities say was Racing Services' operation of an illegal, unlicensed off-track betting shop in Fargo. Prosecutors say the location was not operated by a charity, as North Dakota law requires.
Clemmens said he was undecided about whether to appeal the commission's decision. He intends to go ahead with his effort to purchase Racing Services Inc., but he is unsure whether it will continue to be based in Fargo, Clemmens said.