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Measure to Allow Satellite Betting on Horses Gains

September 10, 1987|JEFFREY A. PERLMAN | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — The Assembly on Wednesday passed legislation that would allow gamblers to bet by satellite as they watch horse races live on big-screen television at tracks and fairgrounds in Southern California.

A bill by Sen. Ken Maddy (R-Fresno) was approved 64 to 8 and sent to the Senate for concurrence on amendments.

Racing industry officials estimate that the bill would increase betting by $350 million to $400 million a year. About $50 million of that would go to purses for horse owners and commissions to race tracks. Another $1 million a year would go to the state treasury, and $10 million would go to fairgrounds. The remainder would be used to pay off on bets.

The measure would allow San Diego bettors, for example, to visit Del Mar nearly year-round when that track is idle and place wagers on races held at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos, the three major Los Angeles-area tracks.

Bettors at the Los Angeles and Orange County tracks and other fairgrounds around Southern California could gamble on the Del Mar races, with a percentage of the money bet being kept by the facility where the wager is made.

The Orange County Fair was excluded from Maddy's bill to protect the Los Alamitos track from close geographical competition. Assemblyman Ross Johnson (R-La Habra) withdrew his opposition to the legislation when a related bill was amended to extend the Orange County Fair's horse racing season four days, from 14 to 18.

The Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona and the Antelope Valley Fair in Lancaster would be eligible to broadcast races held outside Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Satellite wagering has been legal in Northern California for three years.

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