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Batavia track aims for online bets

Local betting aficionados may soon be able to place bets online for harness horse races at Batavia Downs.

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., which owns Batavia Downs Casino and Racetrack, is partnering with Saratoga Casino and Raceway and eBet Technologies to launch

Currently, bets on Batavia Downs races are taken by telephone, at the racetrack, at OTB locations or at OTB E-Z Bet self-service terminals.

The same technology is being used at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway.

"This is going to allow us to use an existing format so that people on this side of the state can place wagers on any track," said Ryan Hasenauer, a spokesman for Western OTB. "They'll be dealing with a Western New York company and Western New York people."

Local bettors will be able to create an account with OTB, fund it in advance with a credit card, debit card, check or money order, then place wagers via the website on any horse race carried by OTB.

Most forms of online betting are illegal, though some gambling and poker sites circumvent the law by incorporating in places such as the Cayman Islands, where online betting is allowed. The OTB online betting operation, however, is fully regulated and lawful in New York State. is pending approval from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. OTB hopes the site will go live shortly after the launch of the racing season, which begins July 23.

Oregon-based eBet Technologies handles online wagers for such gaming organizations as Mohegan Sun and Penn National Gaming.