Business

Monday, Dec 03 2012 01:59 PM

Fair asks Golden West to host satellite wagering

BY JOHN COX Californian staff writer jcox@bakersfield.com

The Kern County Fair is discussing moving its money-losing satellite wagering operation to Golden West Casino, whose initial response has been skeptical.

"We're certainly going to sit down and discuss it with them," casino General manager Steve Griffiths said Monday. "I'm just not sure it's going to go anywhere."

Fair CEO Mike Olcott brought up the proposal Nov. 19 at a meeting of the fair's board of directors, according to an email by board member Mark Salvaggio. The two organizations could choose to partner on the operation, which lost about $30,000 last year, the email states.

In an interview last week, Olcott declined to discuss the horse race gambling operation other than to say it is losing money.

The satellite wagering operation has existed at the fair for about two decades. It serves beer, wine and food, providing full-time work for two employees. The operation is expected to come up for discussion -- possibly including a vote on its fate -- at the board's next meeting on Dec. 17.

Golden West hosts a variety of card games but does not accept wagers on horse races.

At the last fair board meeting, Olcott asked board members to consider doing away with satellite wagering and renting out the Sports Pavilion where it operates on South P Street, according to Salvaggio's email. It says the two employees could be "absorbed" by other fair operations.

Salvaggio wrote in the email that he suggested moving the wagering to another building at the fairgrounds, but that Olcott noted that no other fair facility has a full kitchen.

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