California Takeout Bill Headed to Assembly

Legislation that would authorize a pari-mutuel takeout hike to defray workers' compensation costs passed the California Senate by a 31-6 vote April 22 and is headed to the state Assembly, where it is expected to be addressed the week of April 26.

The measure is designed to raise about $10 million to help California horsemen offset workers' comp costs. The bill would increase takeout on exotic bets--all wagers except win, place and show--from 20.18% to 20.68% in Thoroughbred races, and from 20.38% to 20.88% in Quarter Horse races. For Standardbred races, conventional takeout--win, place, and show--would increase from 16.43% to 17.43%.

In a change from earlier versions, the bill would authorize a racing fair to deduct an additional 0.5% of handle on exotics for any breed other than in races solely for Thoroughbreds. Approval from the organization that represents horsemen would have to approve the provision, also designed to raise money for workers' comp.

The California fairs offer races for Appaloosas, Paints, and mules as well as for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses.

Officials have said the bill would significantly drop workers' comp insurance rates that are paid by owners and trainers. Horsemen, who currently pay $35 to $65 per $100 of payroll and $105 to $173 per jockey ride, could see their rates drop to $20 per $100 of payroll and $50 per mount.