June 27, 2024 3 min read

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California’s Sports Betting Path Unaffected by Florida Supreme Court Decision

Industry stakeholders, however, call for caution as the Florida decision will not really expedite the sports betting legalization process in California

The Supreme Court of the United States’ decision on the tribal-state compact in Florida within the context of tribal gaming and sports betting is not likely to affect the timeline for California tribes’ pursuit of sports betting, according to tribal leaders. However, they believe it could help pave the way for future efforts.

California Cannot Pursue Sports Betting without Constitutional Ammendment

An analyst hailed the decision as potentially transformative for tribal gaming as well as online casinos and sports betting, which are still in their infancy. Victor Rocha, a member of a California tribe who was also the chairman of the Indian Gaming Association’s (IGA) annual conference and tradeshow, called it “a game changer” during an episode of the IGA podcast called ‘New Normal’.

But Jason Giles, executive director of IGA, rebuffed suggestions that this means California can pursue sports betting without a constitutional amendment through voter approval. 

Additionally, James Siva, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), also expressed caution about timing in his state.

According to Siva, people were very excited about the decision but he said that there was a misbelief that new projects would be launched in California right away. He spoke about the future CNIGA meeting, saying they should stick to their old strategy because it has always been working for them. Also, he added that although the ruling opened up new prospects, they should continue being careful and thorough as before. Siva hinted at years-long timelines before significant alterations might come to fruition while underscoring public opinion and planning. 

Florida Ruling Allows Tribes Extended Mobile Gaming Rights

Scott Crowell, a prominent attorney in tribal gaming law circles who represents tribes’ commercial interests on occasion, called this a critical victory for tribes that he said will allow them broader statewide mobile gaming rights under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) without being over-confined by state laws. Crowell added he hoped commercial operators would recognize they need to partner on more equal terms with tribes.

Siva further commented that the strategy of large corporations, aiming to leave minimal benefits for tribes while extracting the majority of revenue from the state, was deemed impractical by the tribes. He noted that the recent decision provided some relief, although he acknowledged that the path ahead would still be challenging, complex, and costly. Nevertheless, he added that there was now a slightly clearer understanding of the situation. 

The decision has prompted discussions within the gaming industry about the future landscape of tribal gaming and its expansion possibilities. Despite the potential for increased complexity and costs associated with regulatory compliance, tribal leaders remain cautiously optimistic about the opportunities presented by this legal precedent.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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