California Says No to Prohibition, Yes to Account Wagering

7 September 2000
The California sun is shining brightly on Internet gambling. State legislators recently voted on two measures that would affect the industry, and both turned up roses.

First, AB 2179, a bill intended to prohibit Internet gambling in Golden State, has died after the Senate determined that it would be too costly to implement.

Meanwhile, a bill that permits telephone betting on horseracing within California has passed both houses and is likely to be signed by Governor Gray Davis on September 30. The new bill, AB2760, will also enable tracks to develop Internet betting services under the supervision of the state racing board.

Hollywood Park President Rick Baedeker was pleased about the new bill, saying its passage "would be preemptive action for the industry instead of having government tell us what to do."

It may not be long before California racetracks offer online betting services. For example, Frank Stronach, owner of several tracks including Santa Anita and Bay Meadows, is reportedly looking into technology that would link all of his facilities. Stronach, no doubt, is watching a similar operation in Ohio. On August 28, the Ohio Telephone and Account Betting (TAB) Ltd., an organization owned by three Ohio tracks--Scioto Downs, River Downs and Beulah Park--launched an Internet pari-mutuel wagering site.

Thoroughbred Owners of California Executive Director John Van de Kamp told the Orange County Register that telephone betting could total between $250 million to $500 million a year.

AB 2760
AB 2179