SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The money-troubled Cal Expo Fairgrounds wants to offer legalized sports betting to help save it from financial collapse.
Gambling on sports could be allowed in California as soon as next year if voters approve the move. State lawmakers could vote as soon as this week to put the issue on the November ballot.
If passed, Cal Expo would become one of five designated racetrack locations across the state to allow serve as a legal sports wagering venue. It’s a move that could bring cold hard cash back to Cal Expo’s pockets.
“It could help save Cal Expo,” Cal Expo CEO Rick Pickering said. “And more importantly, protect this valuable state asset for use by the people into the future.”
The vote comes at a time of crisis for Cal Expo.
“We could be out of cash by late July,” Pickering said.
With the coronavirus forcing the cancellation of dozens of events including the state fair, Cal Expo is running out of money fast.
“We’re looking at an 81 percent decline in revenues,” Pickering said. “We’re moving into employee layoffs.”
No money by the end of summer could turn the massive 800-acre fairgrounds from a state asset to a liability. How or if it would operate is an open question.
“Everything associated with Cal Expo is paid for by activities that take place on the property, so without any activities due to COVID, we are in a world of hurt on cash flow,” Pickering said.
Pickering showed CBS13 the Cal Expo ‘off track’ betting area for horse racing that is set to re-open Thursday after being closed since March.
With a wall of televisions, the betting area would expand to all professional sports, and could potentially become Cal Expo’s biggest source of revenue.
Place your bets now. Could Cal Expo and sports odds-making be a winning combination?
Lawmakers at the Capitol could vote as soon as tomorrow on this legal betting.