11/26/2003 1:00AM

California slot papers filed


Documents detailing a proposed ballot initiative allowing five California racetracks and 11 card clubs to install slot machines were filed with the offices of the state attorney general's office on Wednesday, according to Rick Baedeker, president of Hollywood Park.

The filing is the first stage in a process that could lead to a vote on the measure in November 2004.

California racetracks and card clubs are seeking the right to install slot machines as a way to compete with Native American casinos, which currently operate 54,000 slot machines in the state.

As a constitutional amendment, the initiative would require one million signatures to reach the ballot. The gathering of the signatures and certification must be completed by mid-June, Baedeker said.

If approved, tracks and card clubs are not certain to gain the right to install slots. Native American tribes would have 90 days to renegotiate rights to gambling compacts with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. If the tribes fail to agree to terms, Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Fields, Hollywood Park, Los Alamitos, and Santa Anita and 11 card clubs would be allowed to install up to a total of 30,000 slot machines. During his recent gubernatorial campaign, Schwarzenegger called for tribes to pay a higher percentage of revenue to the state.