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WatchandWager renews agreement to offer Cal Expo harness racing


WatchandWager has agreed an extension of its agreement with the board of directors of the California Exposition & State Fair in Sacramento, allowing it to continue its Cal Expo harness racing operations through to May 1, 2025.

The extension also includes a clause that would allow the lease to be extended until 2030 should both parties agree to it.

WatchandWager president, and chief executive of WatchandWager’s parent company Webis Holdings, Ed Comins said that the agreement was a major landmark for both WatchandWager and Cal Expo.

“This approval is a significant milestone in WatchandWager’s license presence in the US and the state of California,” Comins said. “We believe that WatchandWager will continue to run safe and successful race meetings at Cal Expo, which is good for both harness racing fans and the horsemen of the state.

WatchandWager said in a press release that the renewal was “especially significant” due to the possibility of legal sports betting being introduced in California. On 14 November, coalition of 18 California-based Native American tribes put forward a proposal that could pave the way for the launch of legal wagering in the state.

Their proposal, the California Sports Wagering Regulation and Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act, aims to amend the state constitution to legalize sports betting at limited locations, including Indian gaming casinos and licensed racetracks, and set a 10% gross revenue tax on licensees.

“Our commitment to Cal Expo and racing ensure that WatchandWager will remain a major stakeholder in the positive expansion of gambling in the state of California for many years to come,” Comins said.

WatchandWager began offering live harness racing at Cal Expo – the only harness racetrack in California – in 2012 and the racing season currently consists of 47 races between November and April.

Last week, Webis Holdings announced a loss of $930,000 (£718,820/€844,335) for the 12 months to 31 May 2019 after the loss of a large wagering syndicate led to a significant year-on-year decline in customer spending.