Van De Kamp, 033083 CAAGO, AGO 82-1110

Docket Nº:AGO 82-1110
Case Date:March 30, 1983
JOHN K. VAN DE KAMP Attorney General
RONALD M. WEISKOPF Deputy Attorney General
AGO 82-1110
No. 82-1110
California Attorney General Opinion
Office of the Attorney General State of California
March 30, 1983
         THE HONORABLE NICHOLAS C. PETRIS, MEMBER OF THE SENATE, has requested an opinion on the following question:          Does the Horseracing Board have statutory authority to permit a horseracing association to lease another facility and conduct parimutuel wagering there and at its own park on events being run at its own park where the mutuel pools would be combined?          CONCLUSION          The Horseracing Board does not have requisite statutory authority to permit a horseracing association to lease another facility and conduct parimutuel wagering there and at its own park on events being run at its own park where the mutuel pools would be combined.          ANALYSIS          Technology has made it possible for an event to be witnessed at a place other than where it is held and for wagers on the event made there to be immediately pooled and combined with those placed at the site of the event itself. This development has raised the possibility of inter-track simulcasting of live horse races and for parimutuel wagering on the races at the track of simulcast to be combined with the mutuel pool at the originating track where the races are actually run. For example, under a system variously called "other-track," "ghost-track," or "satellite-track" wagering, a horseracing association might conduct a meet at its own racetrack and at the same time lease a vacant racetrack as a separate wagering facility where patrons would view the events by simulcast and have all of their wagers on the race placed in the same parimutuel pool as the wagers made by the spectators viewing the race live. Asked whether the California Horseracing Board has requisite authority to permit such "other-track" wagering, we conclude that it does not.1          The starting gate for our analysis is the proposition that the power of the Horseracing Board to permit "other-track" wagering is circumscribed by the statute which created it and which defines its powers. (Cal. Const., art. IV, § 19;[2] cf. Ferdig v. State Personnel Bd. (1969) 71 Cal.2d 96, 105; Blatz Brewing Co. v. Collins (1945) 69 Cal.App.2d 639, 645-646; cf. Gov. Code, § 11342.1; Wildlife Alive v. Chickering (1976) 18 Cal.3d 190, 205; Agricultural Labor Relations Bd. v. Superior Court (1976) 16 Cal.3d 392, 419-420.) We therefore turn to the words of the Horseracing Law to see the authority the Legislature has granted to the Board with respect to wagering on horse races. (Cf. People v. Bellecci (1979) 24 Cal.3d 879, 884; Moyer v. Workmen's Comp. Appeals Bd. (1973) 10 Cal.3d 222, 230; Steilberg v. Lackner (1977) 69 Cal.App.3d 780, 785.)          In the Horseracing Law (i.e. Bus. & Prof. Code, div. 8, ch. 4, § 19400 et seq.) the Legislature has vested the California Horseracing Board with "jurisdiction and supervision over meetings in this State where horse races with wagering on their results are held or conducted, and over all persons and things having to do with the operation of such meetings. . . ." (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 19420.) It has defined a type of wagering on horse races known as "parimutuel" wagering (§ 19590),3 declared it to be the only method of wagering permitted in California (§§ 19593, cf. 19595) and has directed the Horseracing Board to "adopt rules governing, permitting and regulating [it]" (§ 19590). Recognizing that the Horseracing Law deals with but a narrow exception to the general anti-gambling law found since 1909 in Penal Code section 337a[4] (see e.g. People v. Torrey, supra, 16 Cal.App.2d at p. 472; In re Walker, supra, 11 Cal.2d at p. 467; In re Goddard, supra, 24 Cal.App.2d at p. 141; People v. Wilson (1937) 19 Cal.App.2d 340, 343; People v. Pierce (1939) 14 Cal.2d 639, 643; People v. Sullivan (1943) 60 Cal.App.2d 539, 544; People v. Haughey (1941) 48 Cal.App.2d 506, 510; People v. Jerman (1946) 29 Cal.2d 189, 196), the Legislature expressly declared in section 19594 that parimutuel wagering on horse races was indeed permissible and not "unlawful, any other law of the State of California to the contrary notwithstanding." (§ 19594.)          However, each of the salient sections of the Horseracing Law by which the Legislature has authorized parimutuel wagering on horse races contains a built-in limitation that is crucial to the question herein presented, to wit, they require that any such wagering take place within the "inclosure" authorized by the Board with respect to the race.5 Since the Horseracing Law "did not . . . repeal the general law prohibiting general betting and registering of bets on horse races [which] remain[ed] in force subject to one exception, namely, that pari-mutuel betting be permitted if conducted in the manner and under the conditions specified. . . ." (People v. Torrey, supra, 16 Cal.App.2d at p. 472), we must determine whether the statutory requirement that any parimutuel wagering only take place within the "inclosure" authorized by the Board limits the Board's power to permit simultaneous wagers to be made on horse races at tracks other than where they are actually run. Put squarely, the question resolves to whether the term "inclosure" refers to the singular grounds where a race is actually held or whether it might encompass separate grounds as well which the Board might permit a horseracing association to lease in connection with a particular race for patrons there to view a simulcast, wager on the race, and have their wagers combined in the originating track's parimutuel pool—in other words, whether it would admit the possibility of "other-track" wagering. Since we will find that the word "inclosure" as used in the Horseracing Law means the actual racing grounds at which a licensed meet ("horseracing meeting") is conducted,6 we will conclude that the Law's requirement that parimutuel wagering take place "within the inclosure" precludes the possibility of the Board authorizing "other-track" wagering.          The term "inclosure" is defined by section 19410 to mean:
"[A]ll areas of a racing association's grounds to which admission can be obtained only by payment of an admission fee or upon presentation of authorized credentials." (Added by Stats. 1959, ch. 1818, § 2, p. 4345.) We have no doubt that the Legislature was referring to the actual grounds where a race is held when it first used the term in the Horseracing Act (in 1933) and then so defined it (in 1959) in section 19410.7 The common meaning of "inclosure" or "enclosure" (see fn. 7, ante) - which we presume the Legislature had in mind (People v. Belleci (1979) 24 Cal.3d 879, 884; Palos Verdes Faculty Assn. v. Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School Dist.

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