Youbet.com President Resigns, Stock Falls Amid Layoffs

Youbet.com, one of two major pari-mutuel online wagering and information companies, announced Tuesday that it was laying off 34 employees immediately. The company also said that A.L. Frank, company president and chief operating officer since February, had resigned. In addition, Youbet's stock fell to a 52-week low of $.78 per share before rebounding to $1.00 at noon.

The company said the layoffs, representing 29% of Youbet.com's total personnel, would enable the company to conserve cash to "proceed with the ongoing aggressive development and expansion of its core horseracing business," including the introduction of its Web-based product.

Youbet announced that executive vice president Ron Luniewski would assume the additional post of chief operating officer.

"We have taken these necessary steps in our efforts to be conservative in our operating expenditures while maximizing our resources for greater efficiency," said chairman and CEO Robert Fell. "In recognition of the status of the current financial markets, we need to conserve cash and optimize our resources to proceed effectively in our core operating businesses."

As part of a restructuring, Youbet.com will combine its horseracing and other sports-related content into one Website.

Also, Youbet.com announced that director Alan W. Landsburg has resigned his position after being named to the California Horse Racing Board. Landsburg's CHRB appointment required him to resign from all racing-related boards.

For the three-month period ending Sept. 30, Youbet.com reported a $3.867 million loss from operations and a net loss of $3.445 million loss for the first nine months of this year. Both figures were improvements over the $7.099 million loss from operations and $13.711 million net loss for the corresponding period one year earlier.

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