America TAB Claims Betting Service Pirated Signals

America TAB, an account-wagering service whose majority owners are Beulah Park and River Downs in Ohio, said it would pursue legal action after having discovered a betting service has been pirating live racing signals from its Web site.

Mike Weiss, general manager of Beulah Park and America TAB, which hubs through Oregon, said America TAB has been upgrading its system, which now offers live video for 16 tracks. Technicians discovered that through reverse engineering, individuals had infiltrated the system.

The discovery of copyright breach occurred the week of Sept. 1 when the system was upgraded to become more secure. Technicians discovered that 30% to 40% of the bandwidth was in video processes associated to the old links and traced back to the video of betehorse.com.

"We have been able to upgrade and expand our broadband video to 16 live tracks concurrently," said Charlie Ruma, managing partner of America TAB and president of Beulah Park. "At this time last year we had four. In addition to our video presentation, we also have implemented big improvements in both hardware and software with increased support for Windows Media Player 7 and 9."

Weiss said the pirating was traced back to at least one service, eHorse, which touts itself as a "non pari-mutuel horse racing service" that offers wagering on more than 75 tracks, according to its Web site. Wagers aren't placed into a pool, but the service pays real-time odds with some high-end limits.

In addition, the company operates a betting exchange and gets a commission of 2% to 5% from the winning user, according to the Web site.

The Web site also says eHorse offers rebates from 3% for $1 to $1,999 in bets a week to 5% when more than $20,000 is bet in one week. There is no contact information on the Web site, so the principals in eHorse or where the service originates couldn't immediately be determined.

The site does have a login for members only. The service, through its Web site, claims it can accept bets from residents in all 50 states, and that it doesn't file reports with the Internal Revenue Service.

"The offshore industry is trying to make a quick buck," Weiss said. "We're going to take this further. We're going as far as we can with this...We have our video, which is approved through all the racetracks in the United States, and they're pirating our signal and using it through their own platform.

"We're not backing down from an offshore company that is not only stealing from us, but from every racetrack in the country."

Signal pirating and offshore-wagering companies that don't return revenue to racing interest have been issues for years in the pari-mutuel industry. The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, for one, believes millions of dollars in revenue is falling through the cracks.

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