California Legislation in Governor's Hands

Major legislation that would authorize account wagering and unionization of backstretch workers cleared the California Assembly Friday on the heels of its passage in the Senate. It awaits the signature of Gov. Gray Davis.

Less than a year ago, Davis vetoed a telephone account wagering bill, but the current measure has widespread support. It also has a five-year sunset provision.

John Van de Kamp, president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, said a key reason to bill had overwhelming support in both houses was that its sponsors, Assembly speaker Robert Hertzberg and Senate president pro-tem John Burton, are Democrats like Davis.

"The governor's staff is a little more optimistic this time about the bill," Van de Kamp. Davis apparently is satisfied the measure won't cause a "significant increase" in gambling.

This bill has a structured source-market fee schedule but doesn't have a provision for unlimited simulcasting at tracks. It would permit unlimited simulcasts for account wagering purposes.
If signed, the legislation would go into effect Jan. 1, 2002.