California Sports Betting Proposal Pulled Due to Tribal Opposition

Published June 24, 2020 by Elana K

California Sports Betting Proposal Pulled Due to Tribal Opposition

California Sen. Bill Dodd, sponsor of the sports betting bill, has pulled it due to opposition from tribal operators. The question of legalizing sports betting won't be back on the table until 2022.

As California lawmakers were on the precipice of pushing forward a proposal that would amend the state constitution to allow legal sports betting, Sen. Bill Dodd, the proposal’s sponsor, pulled it, citing opposition from tribal operators.

California tribes have a history of opposing sports betting, but the recent proposal seemed to have a chance since the state’s budget has been devastated due to the coronavirus. The amendment would have allowed placing in-person and mobile wagers on football, baseball, basketball, and more, with the end result being new tax revenue generated for the state.

In addition to the idea of providing much-needed revenue, the proposal came at a time when the national trend seems to be in favor of legalization. Nearly 20 states have legalized it since PASPA was repealed in May 2018, and approximately 20 more states have recently introduced bills that would legalize sports betting. Many states cite the fact that people are betting on sports no matter what, and if they don't have a legal way to do it, they'll do it on the black market. 

However, the tribes in California aren't concerned with state budgets and illegal sports betting - their priority is to safeguard their monopoly. The tribes strongly opposed the mobile betting clause that was included in the bill, and while lawmakers tried to appease them by including a delayed launch of mobile betting, it wasn’t enough.

Pulling the proposal comes at a time when California is facing a $54 billion deficit due to the coronavirus. The revenue generated from sports betting would have been crucial, but due to this setback, the bill won’t come back on the table until November 2022. Practically, this means California won’t see sports betting implemented until 2023.

Ultimately, voters will be the ones who decide whether sports betting will be approved. Even if lawmakers vote in favor of it in 2022, Californians get the final vote.

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