Betting facility legislation fails
Good news, Surfside manager says
The California State Senate voted down legislation on June 3 that would have reduced the required distance between two horse racing satellite-wagering facilities.
The current minimum radius between brick and mortar centers is 20 miles, but the bill, authored by Sen. Curren Price, D-Los Angeles, stated that that distance is “too restrictive.”
Attendance at satellite wagering facilities has dwindled for the most part due to the ever-increasing popularity of Internet and phone gambling.
Surfside Race Place is down to roughly 800 people in attendance per day this year. At the height of its popularity, CEO Tim Fennell has said more than 3,000 used to attend on a daily basis.
Reducing the radius would have been an effort to increase overall handle by making locations more convenient. The state receives a small percentage of overall bets, officials say the Fairgrounds takes 2 percent to divvy up among various obligations.
SB 1439 failed by an 18-18 vote. Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, supported the measure. The Del Mar Fairgrounds, symbolically, did not.
George Bradvica, director of Del Mar’s Surfside Race Place, said the facility attracts visitors from up to 45-miles away.
“We’re very fortunate to have what I consider the finest facility in the United States for satellite wagering, and I think we can offer people here the most comfort, the highest level of customer service, and the most opportunities to make wagers,” he said.
Passage would have allowed Oceans 11 casino, located roughly 17 miles north in Oceanside, to have the option of hosting off-track betting.
A call to Oceans 11 management to gauge interest was not returned. A marketing representative said the facility stopped offering shuttle service to the Del Mar races last year, citing cost concerns.
Since the bill failed, any facility within 20 miles would have to have permission from Fairgrounds management to host satellite wagering.
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