12/18/2008 12:00AM

California approves more bet spots

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The California Horse Racing Board approved regulations earlier this week allowing for an expansion of satellite wagering to 45 new locations in the state such as card clubs, sports bars, and theaters.

Currently, satellite wagering is restricted to racetracks, some Native American casinos, and county fair grounds. The racing board's approval must be reviewed by the state's Office of Administrative Law to become effective. Any additional satellite locations would not begin taking wagers for several months, at the earliest.

The regulation limits the expansion to 15 locations in the southern, central and northern portions of the state. The expanded satellite locations, known as mini-satellites, cannot operate within 20 miles of a racetrack, simulcast location, or Native American casino that conducts simulcasting without approval of all wagering entities within that range.

In recent months, racing officials have held conversations with card clubs in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas about developing mini-satellites in those locations, which are hugely popular with poker players. In addition, officials are hoping to develop a mini-satellite in the highly populated San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles.

The mini-satellites, which will retain 2 percent of the wagers, will be required to restrict the wagering area to persons age 21 or over.