Funds returned to bankrupt horse betting firm should go to charity

The case involves Racing Services Inc., a company owned by Susan Bala that filed for bankruptcy in 2004, shortly after the company came under scrutiny by federal authorities.

A case was eventually brought in federal court and Bala was ultimately sentenced to prison on illegal gambling charges. She was released early after her convictions were overturned on appeal.

A federal judge ruled in 2014 that the state of North Dakota wasn’t authorized to collect taxes on account wagering, a form of gambling that utilized services like RSI, during the time period involved and North Dakota agreed to pay RSI’s bankruptcy estate about $15.9 million.

Early on in the bankruptcy case a large creditor — PW Enterprises — filed an initial claim of about $2.2 million.

After the state agreed to pay the bankruptcy estate nearly $16 million, PWE amended its claim, boosting what it sought from the estate by about $10.8 million.

PWE owner Peter Wagner was described in court documents as a high-volume computer player who had agreements with RSI regarding things like gambling rebates.

In late 2018, a bankruptcy court judge denied PWE’s amended claim, but approved the initial claim of about $2.2 million.

PWE appealed the decision, maintaining that under state law it was entitled to money North Dakota paid …

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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