LOS ALAMITOS : Bill to Give City Wager Share Backed

The City Council gave its wholehearted support Monday to proposed state legislation that would give the city a portion of the wagers placed at the race track which bears the city's name but is actually in Cypress.

If the bill is approved, the city would receive one-third of 1%--an estimated $750,000 annually--of the betting pool at Los Alamitos Race Course to compensate for the track's impact on traffic and other city services. Cypress already receives that portion of the wagers.

The legislative bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Doris Allen (R-Cypress) earlier this month. It would allow cities with borders within 2,500 feet of a place that stages races or allows off-track betting to be compensated with a percentage of the wagers.

Gerard Goedhart, director of administrative services, estimated that 75% of the track's visitors use Los Alamitos' streets, specifically Katella Avenue, to drive to and from the 320 races held at the track each year.

"It is pretty much a nightly thing for us," he said. "We border the site on two sides, yet we have never received any benefit from it."

There is a precedent for such a plan, according to Goedhart. Solana Beach, which borders Del Mar and the Del Mar Race Track, receives a portion of the satellite--or off-site--wagers for the track. Goedhart added that Solana Beach does not receive a portion of the on-site wagers, however.

"We're just taking it one step further," he said.

Assembly committee meetings will be held on the bill this spring. The Senate and the governor must also approve it for it to become law on Jan. 1.

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