International Racing Group has contested a decision by the Oregon Racing Commission to suspend its state operating license, and will continue to conduct business through its hub pending an administrative law hearing.
IRG, which is the subject of a federal investigation involving what parent company Youbet.com claims are activities of certain customers and employees, was served notice Oct. 22 that the ORC intended to suspend its license over non-compliance issues.
“We have received notice that IRG has requested a contested case hearing,” ORC executive director Randy Evers said of a Nov. 7 letter received from IRG. “They (IRG) are working on coming into compliance. Their request is done to keep all of their options open.”
The company, which is an off-shore telephone wagering shop that offers rebates to its estimated 200 customers, had $1.5 million in three bank accounts seized in early October related to the investigation. During an Oct. 19 meeting with ORC commissioners, a Youbet.com official estimated the liability at the time to IRG customers was in the neighborhood of $3 million.
IRG had until Nov. 12 to either come into compliance or contest the ruling by the ORC. Coming into compliance would have in part involved having an active bank account where IRG customers could deposit or withdraw funds. Youbet.com recently reported in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing it was barred from making inter-company transfers to IRG other than to meet certain payroll and operations obligations because of a waiver of default agreement with a lender.
Youbet.com spokesman Hud Englehart told The Blood-Horse in a brief interview he thought IRG had contested the ruling, but would have to check further with company officials for more details. Youbet.com has previously said it would do whatever possible to make IRG customers whole.
Evers didn’t know the timetable on when the Oregon Office of Administrative Hearings would schedule the IRG matter on its calendar. He said a recent unrelated incident involving an ORC matter and the administrative agency was scheduled out four months in advance.
“They are still operating under their license,” Evers said of IRG. “At the appropriate time, they can either convince the judge, or come into compliance.”
The ORC has its regular monthly meeting scheduled for Nov. 15. The agenda doesn’t mention IRG specifically, and Evers said any discussion on the matter would probably be held in executive session, which is not open to the public.