Legalizing sports wagering in California would be a tough sell, but Golden State lawmakers may finally be meeting to discuss the possibility and empower a multi-billion industry within the state.
California May Finally Be Setting Up a Discussion about Sports Betting
California will reportedly have a hearing regarding the future of sports betting in the state, sources have revealed.
According to people close to the matter, stakeholders will meet in Los Angeles on November 20, LSB.com reported, even though no official confirmation has come through. Sports betting has been a long-avoided topic in the Golden State, which, along with Florida has been opposed to gambling in general.
Efforts to push through with a sports betting legislation have been made by Senator Bill Dodd who filed SCA 6 and found support by Adam Gray, an Assemblyman who has been looking with favor on the activity.
To be any successful, though, any future – or existing bill – would need to change the Constitution of the state to authorize sports wagering. Not only that, but a move as ambitious as this would require a supermajority as well as a referendum whereby voters would cast their vote in favor or against the activity.
Meanwhile, the casinos allowed to operate in the state have been adding new amenities to draw a more diverse crowd over.
Tribal Operators Throw Spanners in the Works
More challenging still is the complicated relationship between tribal operators and any would-be commercial operators. Tribes enjoy a semi-monopoly over the state’s existing gambling activities and they would much rather keep it this way.
Put simply, California doesn’t authorize gambling facilities, but tribal casinos are exempted, giving them a leeway to generate a fair chunk of revenue without the need to respond.
While many card rooms have tried to operate the so-called player-banked games in order to circumnavigate some of the restrictive rules in the state, California’s tribes have responded quickly and harshly, requesting a clamp-down on any commercial card room.
In November, a lawsuit was filed with San Diego Superior Court by the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians and the Santa Ynez of Chumash Mission Indians. According to the plaintiffs, dozens of card rooms had been operating illegally from Chula Vista to the Bay Area.
According to the tribes, there have been substantial financial losses to those semi-regulated card rooms, as they call them. According to Rincon Chairman Bo Mazzetti, his tribe lost estimated $13.8 million to the two card rooms running in the state and biting a juicy chunk off the tribal facilities.
More Mainstream Support Seeping Through
While pushing against lawmakers and the Indian tribes would be a challenging undertaking on its own, many mainstream sporting teams and leagues have said that they would approve of such a move. The Sacramento Kings and the NBA have already vowed their support for the legalizing of sports betting.
According to the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, native tribes might actually change their stance if holding out against popular demand proves too challenging. California is slightly more liberal when it comes to sports betting. Unlike Florida, there are no organized structures that shed millions of dollars to advocate against the activity.