California Satellite Expansion Bill Killed

A California Assembly bill designed to give the state horse racing board greatly expanded authorization to approve satellite wagering facilities has been killed by organized Indian gaming opposition.

John Van de Kamp, president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, confirmed that the bill, introduced in April by Assemblyman Tony Strickland (AB 381) was recently dropped due to Indian opposition. The Assembly's Committee on Appropriations had approved it for further consideration on April 28.

Indians are opposed to expansion of any gaming in the state outside of tribal control.

"This is what you are up against with the Indians," Van de Kamp said.

He said revised legislation would be submitted later this year.

The bill would have given the CHRB authority to establish satellite facilities, currently located on the grounds of 20 fair locations around the state, anywhere within the boundaries of a fair's district or within any racetrack association's zone. Facilities that would be located within 20 miles of an existing site would have required the consent of the wagering center or track.

Still under consideration is a bill, AB 401, by Jerome Horton that would give the CHRB the option of adding one satellite facility within the city of Sacramento's fair boundaries, an exception to wagering restrictions allowed in four other counties in the state.

Bob Fox, a legislative lobbyist for the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, reported that the proposal, strongly supported by racing interests, may be amended to permit an additional satellite facility within other fair jurisdictions.

The TOC and other state racing proponents feel the present configuration of satellite facilities fails to satisfy the needs of several major population centers. Current law restricts horseracing wagering operations to CHRB-approved fairground locations.