The proposal to regulate in-person and online sports betting across California has been pulled by Senator Bill Dodd just one day before it was due to be voted on by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
According to Legal Sports Report, the bill has been withdrawn due to opposition from Indian gaming tribes, with the tribal casinos citing concerns over the ‘online aspect and the inclusion of language to clarify the legality of how cardrooms offer banked games’.
“It was a bad bill, written without tribal input, with virtually no time remaining on the clock — it got the finish it deserved,” said tribal lobbyist David Quintana. “It started off as a sucker punch but ended up as a knockout. Hopefully the next round will involve a true dialogue with the tribes.”
Dodd’s Senate Constitutional Amendment 6, which had been developed in collaboration with Assembly member Adam Gray, had previously been placed in a suspense file due to its predicted fiscal impact amounting to over $50,000.
The proposal was originally due to be voted on by the Committee on 18 June, however was pushed back until 23 June, meaning the bill had two days to gain two-thirds majority in both the Senate and Assembly which is necessary to be included on the ballot in the November 2020 election.
Dodd explained the move in a statement: “Given the deadlines for getting a measure on the November ballot and the impact of COVID-19 on the public’s ability to weigh in, we were not able to get the bill across the finish line this year.
“It remains important that we lift this widespread practice out of the shadows to make it safer and to generate money for the people of California. I will continue to be engaged in the issue as we work toward 2022.”
The withdrawal of the ‘simply bad policy’ has been welcomed by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), which explained that the proposal would have threatened brick-and-mortar casinos: “We are heartened to see that SCA 6 is being pulled from the legislative process. While we appreciate that the state was trying to find additional revenues during this time, this bill was simply bad policy.
“It unjustly rewards the commercial, for-profit gaming industry for their practice of conducting Nevada-style games in flagrant violation of California law. This bill would have also threatened brick-and-mortar establishments by legalizing online gaming, which would reward out-of-state commercial business entities and raise regulatory challenges.”
The legalization of sports betting across the Golden State requires a constitutional amendment in front of voters, thus limiting any legislative action to election years. The recent pushback means that California won’t be able to launch sports betting until at least September 2023, providing a sports betting constitutional amendment makes it onto the ballot for 2022.