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Horse Racing's Special Role In California Means Loads Of Laws

 Lin Mei / Flickr

Lin Mei / Flickr

Horse racing’s complex role in California as both sport and a form of gambling has once again prompted dozens of bills this year.

One measure allows bets from out of state in one specific type of race when the prize is above a certain amount.

This level of specificity — micromanagement even — in horse racing bills is common, and it’s one reason there are two dozen bills already introduced this session and there were more than 50 last session.

Sacramento attorney Louie Brown specializes in California legislation, including horse racing, and he says the state’s interest in the sport is historical.

“The state of California actually has probably the largest investment in horse racing of any single entity because of the racing that occurs at fairs,” Brown says.

A 1933 ballot measure legalized gambling on horse racing and required that proceeds from it fund the State Fair and county fairs. The combination of licensed gambling on a (once) prominent state sport with government ties to it has led to a lot of laws.

Ben Bradford

Former State Government Reporter

As the State Government Reporter, Ben covered California politics, policy and the interaction between the two. He previously reported on local and state politics, business, energy, and environment for WFAE in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Read Full Bio 

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