Simulcasting in Northern California May Expand

Recent legislation passed in California and signed by Gov. Gray Davis will allow Northern California racetracks and county fairs to expand simulcasting if the number of live racing dates is reduced. The new law also allows additional simulcasting if live racing is interrupted because of power failures that have plagued the state in recent years.

Senate Bill 590, sponsored by Don Perata of the East Bay region near San Francisco, permits additional simulcasting at Northern California racetracks and fairs, beginning in 2001, if the California Horse Racing Board authorizes fewer live racing days than were allocated in 2000. Tracks may simulcast up to three races for every live race eliminated by the board, with the number of additional simulcasts to be authorized by the CHRB executive director.

The additional simulcasts are intended to prevent a loss of revenue to the state, horsemen, and tracks from the reduction in live racing. "It permits roughly the amount of simulcasting that would make up for that lost revenue," said John Van de Kamp, president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California. "We were pleased with this bill in that it gives us some flexibility in Northern California."

The bill also empowers the CHRB's executive director to authorize additional simulcasts throughout the state if live racing is affected by power outages or the threat of an outage.