Sports Betting Progress for the Legalization of Sports Betting in California

CaliforniaLegal California Sports Gambling Proposal
Jun 04, 2020 17:06Joe Tarzaiski

California sports betting is making forward progress after the Senate Committee on Government Organization approved a bill to regulate the industry.

A hearing is scheduled for June 9, with the bill passed forward to the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Operators that are permitted to offer sports betting will also instill their services online.

In order for sports betting to become a reality for California, a statewide referendum would need to be held. Two-thirds of the votes will need to be in favor of regulating the vertical. This would fuel the legislation to be passed into law.

Senator Bill Dodd told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee he would not bring up the bill until further discussion with all stakeholders.

“Based on our deadlines, we need to move forward with our committee vote doday, but I’ve committed to come to thetable for those substantive, good-faith negotiations and I will not bring the bill up on the floor before we’ve had a chance for those discussions,” says Dodd. “Any bill we bring to the floor will have amendments to help address the concerns of the tribes.”

The referendum would be added to this year’s November General Election.

Card rooms would not be allowed to offer sports betting under the current proposed legislation. Only tribal casinos and racetracks would be eligible. Those permitted to take sports wagers will have accessibility to operate with both land-based and digital access.

What’s in it for the State?

  • Online sports betting would be taxed 15%.
  • Land-based casinos would be taxed 10%.
  • An initial $5 million license fee would be paid from the operators, with a $1 million annual renewal fee.
  • Each licensee would be permitted to have one online “skin.”

Another proposal has been put forward as well, involving card rooms having the right to offer player-dealer games.

Tribal Casino Retort to the Proposed Future

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) is currently showing dissatisfaction with this move. Their stance is it would “fundamentally” change “the legal structure of California’s peer-to-peer gaming industry.”

Dodd said the proposal is also an attempt to end riffs between tribal gaming and cardrooms over exclusivity on house-banked card games.

“When I became chair of this committee three years ago, I suddenly found myself in the middle of a very fractured relationship that has existed for way long before I became chair. As chair of GO and alongside Chairman Gray, we believed it was time to try to work together on a solution.”

The legislation cuts out cardrooms from offering California sports betting, but the compromise is the ending of tribal challenges to the way they offer games such as blackjack.

Joe Lang, a lobbyist in the cardroom, spoke about his four expected results from the proposal. He presented:

  • Tribal casinos will benefit by offering sports wagering, craps, and roulette.
  • Card clubs will exist as they currently stand excluded from sports betting.
  • The state will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in greatly needed revenue.
  • Preserving hundreds of millions of dollars of local government revenue.

“I think we’re so co close to moving forward with something that’s good for our tribal government partners as well as the communities around California that drive great benefit from the economies around cardrooms and horse racing, and the opportunity for fairs,” Gray said. “I believe today, with the leadership shown by Chairman Dodd, the Senate and this committee, we can reset those discussions in a way that may move us forward.”

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Joe Tarzaiski
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Joe Tarzaiski began his sports writing career in 2004 in the Philadelphia market, analyzing and handicapping professional sports, college sports, poker and various table games. He currently reports on the increased efforts on the legalization and continual growth of sports betting throughout the United States. A Philadelphia University alum, Joe is dedicated to following current trends in both the gaming community and daily news throughout the sports world.
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