ONLINE GAMBLING: MAGNA ADDS ONLINE WAGERING AT LAUREL

The owner of Laurel Park has signed a deal with a California firm to restore its online betting services for Laurel Park and Pimlico starting next month.

Magna Entertainment Corp., a majority owner of both Laurel Park and Pimlico, has agreed to provide live video feeds to subscribers of Youbet.com Inc.’s horse racing services.

Online wagering will start at the end of January for Laurel Park, and on New Year’s Day for Pimlico.

Youbet CEO Charles F. Champion said the agreement restores a connection that existed before Magna’s investment in the Maryland tracks. Magna operates its own online betting sites, and locked out Youbet when it took control of the tracks.

The company continued to accept parimutual wages and showed races from Rosecroft Raceway.

“While we were not carrying Laurel and Pimlico, we were taking wagers from Maryland bettors,” Mr. Champion said.

Magna officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

Mr. Champion said online gambling is permitted under the U.S. Interstate Horse Racing Act and his company is licensed with the Maryland Racing Commission.

He said Magna’s agreement snares the only outstanding race in the Triple Crown for his subscribers.

“We are especially excited about adding the 2005 Preakness to our offering,” he said.

In addition to Maryland, Magna’s racetracks and horse training facilities are located in California, Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas.