The Coast News Group
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Carlsbad decision ends revenue source for fairgrounds

COAST CITIES — A deal that could have earned the Del Mar Fairgrounds up to $150,000 annually came to an end April 30 when Carlsbad council members indicated they will not allow mini-satellite gambling in that city. 

The owners of Silky Sullivan’s Race and Sports Bar were denied a business license and City Council approved an urgency ordinance prohibiting mini-satellite wagering, noting any form of gambling is generally not allowed in Carlsbad.

In an effort to widen the distribution of the horse racing signal at brick-and-mortar sites, in 2007 the state approved the development of 45 mini-satellites, which are regulated and licensed by the California Horse Racing Board.

If a potential restaurant or sports bar is within a 20-mile radius of an existing race track — which in this case is the Del Mar Fairgrounds — the applicant must be granted a waiver from the facility.

Last month the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which governs the fairgrounds, authorized an agreement — pending approval from Carlsbad and licensing from the California Horse Racing Board — to allow Silky Sullivan’s to operate a mini-satellite wagering site.

Under the proposed five-year agreement that included an option to renew for an additional three years, the 22nd DAA would have received between 1 percent and 1.2 percent annually. Estimated revenue for the district was between $100,000 and $150,000 a year.

The owners of Silky Sullivan’s said they will look elsewhere to open the sports bar. If it is within a 20-mile radius, the fairgrounds could still benefit.