08/31/2010 11:20AM

California takeout bill passes Assembly


Legislation that would increase takeout for exotic wagers on California races passed the state Assembly by a 46-10 vote on Monday.

The bill, which would also permit the launch of exchange betting in the state in 2012, was expected to be heard by a state Senate committee on Tuesday, and possibly on the Senate floor.

The state legislative session was scheduled to end on Tuesday, but the legislature has yet to produce a state budget and was expected to remain in session beyond Tuesday.

The legislation would raise the takeout on two-horse exotic wagers by 2 percent, from the current 20.68 percent, to 22.68 percent, and increase the takeout on bets requiring three or more horses by 3 percent, from 20.68 percent to 23.68 percent. The legislation states that revenue from the higher takeout must go to fund overnight purses, which could raise $25 million to $30 million annually, according to racing officials.

The bill was amended last weekend to delay the implementation of exchange betting until 2012, and give the California Horse Racing Board ample time to write rules and regulation with industry participants.

Conducted on the Internet, exchange betting allows bettors to post odds on a horse and take bets directly from other players. It is not currently permitted in the United States.

The bill does not have universal support from racing groups. The California Thoroughbred Trainers is opposed to the exchange betting provision, vice-president Darrell Vienna said on Tuesday.

“We oppose the bill because we are opposed to exchange wagering being legalized in California,” he said. “We agree the amended bill is better than the other one. As a matter of principle, we’re staying opposed.”