Legal Guide to Horse Racing Betting in California

California is one of the biggest states in the country when it comes to horse racing. New York is the only other state that can compete in that category with California. Pari-mutuel betting was legalized in California back in 1933 and that is considered the birth of modern horse racing in the state. Within a few years, horse tracks were open at a number of locations, including Santa Anita, Del Mar, Golden Gate Fields, and Hollywood Park. However, in recent years, horse racing has been on the decline.

Horse Racing Decline

Like everywhere else across the country, horse racing is declining in California. A number of tracks have closed over the years, more so in the last dozen years or so. Hollywood Park, home to the first Breeder’s Cup back in 1984, was once a booming race track and is now the future site of the Los Angeles Rams. What was once known as the “Sport of Kings” is now seemingly hanging on by a thread. Outside of the Triple Crown, horse racing is limited to a small percentage of actual horse racing fans.

Thoroughbred racing declined nationally in handle by more than 7% in 2008 and nearly 10% in 2009. Ten years later with sports betting becoming legalized by more and more states, it is reasonable to assume that the horse betting industry will continue to decline. Diehard horse racing fans will continue to keep the industry barely breathing. Casual betting fans, however, will begin to focus on more popular sports like the NFL and NBA for their betting needs as it becomes legal in more states.

Check out this article from Elizabeth Minkel back in 2015 describing the decline of the horse racing industry.

California Horse Racing Board

“The mission of the California Horse Racing Board is to ensure the integrity, viability, and safety of the California horse racing industry by regulating pari-mutuel wagering for the protection of the public, promoting horse racing, breeding, and wagering opportunities, and fostering safe racing through the development and enforcement of track safety standards and regulations for the health and welfare of all participants.” – CHRB Mission Statement

Board Members

Chuck Winner – Chairman
Madeline Auerback – Vice Chairman
Fred Maas – Board Member
Alex Solis – Board Member
Dennis V. Alfieri – Board Member
Gregory L. Ferraro, DVM – Member
Rick Baedeker – Executive Director

CHRB Contact Info

Mailing Address:
1010 Hurley Way, Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95825

Phone and Fax:
Phone: (916) 263-6000
Fax: (916) 263-6042

Phone: (800) 805-7223
Email: [email protected]

CHRB Regulated Racing Facilities

Privately Operated Race Tracks

– Del Mar, Del Mar
– Golden Gate Fields, Albany
– Los Alamitos, Cypress
– Santa Anita, Arcadia

Racing Fairs

– Alameda County Fair, Pleasanton
– California Exposition & State Fair (CalExpo)
– Big Fresno Fair, Fresno
– Humboldt County Fair, Ferndale
– Sonoma County Fair, Santa Rosa

Simulcast Facilities

– 58 Flat Sports Bar & Casino, Bonita*
– Antelope Valley Fair, Lancaster
– Commerce Casino, City of Commerce*
– Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio
– Firehouse Restaurant, Bakersfield*
– Fresno Club One, Fresno
– Hollywood Park Casino
– Lake Elsinore Hotel & Casino, Lake Elsinore*
– Lake Perris Sports Pavillion, Perris
– Los Angles County Fair, Pomona
– Monterey County Fair, Monterey
– National Orange Show, San Bernardino
– OC Tavern, San Clemente*
– Ocean’s 11, Oceanside*
– Pechanga Resort Casino, Temecula
– Roadhouse Grill, Santa Maria*
– Sammy’s Restaurant and Bar, Mission Viejo*
– San Bernardino County Fair, Victorville
– San Joaquin County Fair, Stockton
– San Mateo Events Center, San Mateo
– Santa Clara County Fair, San Jose
– Santa Clarita Lanes, Santa Clarita*
– Solano County Fair, Vallejo
– Striders, San Diego*
– Tilted Kilt, Thousand Oaks*
– Ventura County Fair, Ventura
– Viejas Casino & Turf Club, Alpine

* Mini-satellite locations