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No legislative end-of-session would be complete without at least one clash over gambling. This year's appears to be a bill that would allow Hollywood Park, a storied Southern California horse racing track, to shut down racing but continue to host wagering as a card room.

The legislation, Senate Bill 472, would give Hollywood Park a temporary exemption from California laws governing ownership and operation of a cardroom.

Hollywood Park intends to shut down horse racing at the end of the current season, but its continued use as a card room site runs afoul of state laws that bar the owners of a California casino from also owning a gambling operation that offers gambling games that are banned in California.

The public pension funds that own Hollywood Park also own the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, which is now closed for remodeling, so the owners would have three years, under state law, to divest itself of one operation or the other.

AB 472, carried by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, would give a three-year divestment period that would begin only after the Sahara reopens.

It drew opposition from other Southern California card rooms and Indian tribal casinos, which said Hollywood Park shouldn't receive special treatment, but the measure was sent to the Senate floor for a final vote on a 6-0 vote of the Senate Governmental Operations Committee.



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