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Cal Expo Contract Extended

Published: December 4, 2019 10:53 am ET

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It has been announced that a deal has been struck that will see ‘Watch and Wager’ continue its Cal Expo harness racing operations through to May 1, 2025.

The board of Webis, the group specializing in pool wagering and the operators of Cal Expo, the California harness track, is pleased to announce that on Tuesday (Dec. 3), its U.S.-based Advanced Deposit Wagering business, LLC (‘WatchandWager’) signed an extension with the Board of Directors of the California Exposition & State Fair in Sacramento to continue its Cal Expo harness racing operations through to May 1, 2025.

The extension reflects the good standing that WatchandWager holds with the track landlord and the regulators in California. The renewal also includes a clause to extend the lease until 2030, should both parties wish to pursue it. The renewal is especially significant given the recent positive momentum behind the introduction of regulated sports betting in the Golden State. Recent initiatives to drive this forward include California racetracks as being eligible to be licensed for sports betting.

WatchandWager has been operating live racing at Cal Expo since 2012. The 2019-2020 Cal Expo harness racing season began on November 9, and will conduct a total of 47 race dates on Fridays and Saturdays through April 25, 2020.

A field of Standardbreds pictured coming off the turn at Cal Expo.

Cal Expo is the only harness racing track in California, and WatchandWager’s operation of it is vital to supporting the breed and horsepeople in the state. In addition to the racing, WatchandWager makes financial contributions to the California horse industry to promote breeding and racing in the state. Harness racing at Cal Expo also enjoys an excellent health and safety record for many years, with the welfare of the horses and all participants of utmost importance to the Board and management at Cal Expo.

The initial performance of WatchandWager Cal Expo has been slightly above average through the first weekends of live racing this season. With a current horse population of 290 Standardbreds stabled on the backstretch, it is a strong sign of a successful season featuring fully filled races, competitive fields, and many wagering opportunities for harness racing fans.

WatchandWager President and Webis CEO Ed Comins stated that the extension approval is a significant step for the long-term future of both Cal Expo and WatchandWager.

“This approval is a significant milestone in WatchandWager’s license presence in the U.S. 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. At the same time, 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.”

(With files from Watch and Wager)


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