It’s back to the drawing board for both sides of a rather contentious debate in California. Each side has doubled down on their positions, and in the past, has refused to budge.
Now according to a report in the Los Angeles Times, there is some new light being shed on the sports betting debate. Sports betting advocates in the Golden State have been arguing that the tribally-owned casinos want to have a monopoly on sports betting, shutting everyone else out. They believe that scenario is clearly unconstitutional, and it deprives everyone else of engaging in sports betting as a business.
Currently, there are two sports betting bills on the table. State Senator Bill Dodd, a Democrat from the Bay Area, is the sponsor of one of two bills.
The second bill is sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman Adam Gray, who represents Merced. The bills are known as ‘ACA 16 and SCA6’ and more details about the bills were revealed on Thursday.
The Two Revised Bills May Still Not Please Those Against Tribal Monopolies
The two lawmakers said they have made changes to their bills, so that these measures would be a compromise. One of the biggest sources of contention with these bills is that the many legal card rooms in California would be completely shut out of sports betting.
Various tribes that already have a monopoly on casinos in the state continue to refuse to let others into the gaming industry. Gray and Dodd both agree that without compromise there will be no progress made when it comes to sports betting.
The lawmakers have said from day one that no matter who is allowed to have sports betting, the state will benefit due to the taxable revenue it will raise. Gray said, “We have to put the needs of the people of California above everything else at this point.”
The compromise with these new amendments would still have sports betting at tribal casinos. However, the big difference would be that card rooms could still operate unencumbered. In the past, tribes have tried to take card rooms out of the hands of independent owners.
The Two Bills Will Be on the November Ballot and California Voters Will Have the Last Word
The two lawmakers are good friends who have worked on other bills in the past with very successful outcomes. The Democratic Governor, Gavin Newsom, said earlier in the week that the state is facing a financial crisis.
Los Angeles, the 4th largest economy in the world, has been completely shut down since mid-March. Newsom said the state is facing a $50 billion shortfall and the state must be on track to raise $14 billion to ensure programs don’t close permanently.
Senator Dodd said, “With that kind of pressure to raise that kind of money quickly to save programs, there aren’t a lot of ways that can be done right now, unless some wealthy citizens start writing checks.” He went on to explain, “The amount of money that can be raised in benefit of the state with online wagering is estimated to be at least $700 million a year. We’re looking to get those revenues for a COVID-type budge where we need to be looking out for every opportunity to increase our revenues at a time when we have to make so many cuts.”
The new working will allow tribal casinos and horse racing tracks to have sports betting at the locations and offer a sports betting app to make bets online. The bills are expected to pass in November easily. Dodd said that if the bills get voter approval, sports betting should launch in late November.