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Alley saddles up for off-track bets

Santa Clarita Lanes addition of horse-race gambling will give enthusiasts a local opportunity

Posted: July 1, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 1, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

A Santa Clarita Valley bowling alley will begin offering off-track horse race betting later this month.

“Many SCV residents currently travel to Ventura and Lancaster to experience off-track betting, and with this facility at Santa Clarita Lanes, they will no longer have to drive so far,” said Jason Crawford, marketing and economic development manager for Santa Clarita.

Santa Clarita Lanes will begin taking bets July 14 under a 10-year lease with the California Horse Racing Board, said Tom Christi, owner of the Soledad Canyon Road business.

“The actual operation is being run by them,” Cristi said of the state Horse Racing Board.

Santa Clarita Lanes will provide a “simulcast facility,” while the state board supplies all the TVs and signals from tracks across the country to broadcast locally, Cristi said.

Santa Clarita Lanes won’t handle the wagers, said manager Craig Goodman. The state board handles the bets, ATM-style wagering machines and any payoffs.

The “Watch and Wager” satellite center will be regulated by the state board, and Santa Clarita Lanes must adhere to board standards, which include periodic inspections, Crawford said.

Santa Clarita Lanes gets 2 percent of the wagers, Cristi said.

The city of Santa Clarita will receive .003 percent of the amount wagered at the facility, Crawford said. Sales taxes from any increased spending for food and beverages at the site will also go to the city.

Santa Clarita Lanes will remain a family entertainment center, Cristi said. After the races are broadcast, the bowling alley will continue to air sporting events on the TVs, as it does now.

“Santa Clarita Lanes has been a local business for a long time, and we are supportive of their growth plans and wish them success,” Crawford said.

The wagering will take place in a clubhouse where fans can watch races broadcast from around the country, as well as sit down for a meal and beverages, said Christi, who hopes to boost his food and beverage revenue by 200 percent.

Cristi, who bought Santa Clarita Lanes in 2001 and once owned quarter horses that raced at Los Alamitos Race Course in Orange County, is investing $100,000 to renovate the Vincenzo’s Pizza & Lounge for the wagering.

jadkins@the-signal.com

661-287-5599

 

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